Shares in Vietnamese automaker VinFast Auto soared 68% to over US$37 on the first day of trading on the US Nasdaq market on Tuesday, valuing the company at a staggering US$85bn, according to reports.

VinFast was founded in 2017 by Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate Vingroup, and began making vehicles in 2018 following a technical partnership with BMW and Pininfarina. It began production of a model based on the BMW X5 in 2019.

Vinfast soon turned its attention to electric vehicles (EV) and launched its first, the VF e34, in Vietnam in December 2021. This was followed by the VF8 SUV last September and the larger VF9 earlier this year. A compact SUV, the VF6 is scheduled to go into production in Vietnam towards the end of 2023, to be followed by a smaller VF5.

VinFast sold an estimated 26,000 vehicles in Vietnam last year, down from 38,000 units in 2021, and shipped its first batch of 1,000 EVs to the US in December. Last month the company began construction of a US plant in North Carolina which was expected to have initial capacity for 150,000 EVs per year when it complete in 2025.

VinFast’s Nasdaq listing followed the merger earlier this year with US-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Black Spade Acquisition in a deal valued at US$23bn, according to stock exchange filings. SPACs are shell companies that typically raise capital in an IPO and use the cash to merge with a private company in order to take it public.

According to reports, the listing added around US$39bn to the wealth of VinFast chairman and founder Pham Nhat Vuong, who was already Vietnam’s richest man.

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