Chinese Tesla challenger Xpeng raises $400M from investors including Xiaomi

The funding will be used to back the upcoming launch of its electric P7 sedan.

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker, Xpeng Motors, announced it has raised $400 million in the latest round of financing, which included a new strategic investor -- China's budget smartphone brand Xiaomi.

Local startup Xpeng, backed by Alibaba and Foxconn and seen as a rival to Tesla in China, will work with Xiaomi to develop technologies to connect smartphones with vehicles, according to a statement posted on the company's website on Wednesday.

While Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun said the two companies want to achieve significant progress on smart vehicles research and development, he added that Xiaomi's strategic investment in the EV startup is also aimed at advancing innovation for intelligent hardware and the Internet of Things.

He Xiaopeng, the founder of Xpeng, also took part in the latest Series C funding round, according to the statement.

Xpeng's first production model, the G3 2019 SUV, started shipping out to consumers in late 2018 and began being mass delivered in March. Since its release, 10,000 units of the G3 2019 SUV has been shipped as of June 18, according to the EV startup.

The Chinese startup also aims to use the fresh funding to back the upcoming launch of its electric P7 sedan, which is reportedly expected to be ready for market in the second quarter of next year.

Xpeng's latest funding comes at a time when the Chinese government has been reducing subsidies to EVs in China, after a whopping 210 billion yuan ($30 billion) worth of subsidies has been spent over the past decade, according to a Chinese report in March. 

Last week, Tesla posted images of the first Model 3 cars assembled by its Shanghai Gigafactory 3, its first manufacturing plant outside the US. The Chinese-produced Model 3s are expected to be shipped to Chinese consumers in the first quarter of 2020.

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