China's WM Motor announced this week it raised CNY10bn (US$1.47bn) in its latest private fund-raising round, according to local reports.

The amount raised was said to be higher than any other Chinese electric vehicle startup has managed in a single financing round. Investors include state owned SAIC Motor, internet giant Baidu and more than a dozen government backed funds.

WM Motor, established in 2015 by CEO Freeman Shen, said it would use the funds to expand its R&D activities, increase marketing and brand building, including digital marketing, and expand its sales network which currently is just 94 dealerships across the country. The company sold only 11,780 vehicles in the first eight months of 2020.

Shen said the latest fundraising round showed investor confidence in his company technology and long term strategy. Earlier this month the company announced plans to invest CNY20bn in the next three to five years to build smart electric vehicles that more closely meet the requirements of the Chinese consumer.

At the press event, WM announced new partnerships with technology companies such as Baidu and US chipmaker Qualcomm. It also showcased a new autonomous electric vehicle developed in collaboration with Baidu and scheduled to go on sale in 2021.

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