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Analyse Asia

Jun 23, 2019

In episode 304, Rui Ma, co-founder of Transformative Technology Academy and co-host of the Techbuzz China podcast joined us in a conversation to discuss Xiaopeng Motors and extending the conversation to analyse the state of electric cars (EVs) market in China. We dived deep to the origins of Xiaopeng Motors with its legendary founder, He Xiaopeng, and how it amassed a huge and massive funding from Alibaba Group and other investors. From there, we bring in the other key players: Nio, WM Motors and Byton into the fray and how Tesla and the traditional automotive companies such as SAIC are approaching the Chinese market.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Rui Ma, Founder of Transformative Technology Academy and Host of TechBuzz podcast by Pandaily produced by SupChina (LinkedIn, @ruima) [0:19]
  • Xiaopeng Motors and State of EVs in China [3:34]
    • Reference: TechBuzz China Episode 22 - NIO 
    • Introduction: Xiaopeng Motors is an electric car company who has recently raised US$587M (~ 4B RMB) in China backed by Alibaba Group and many other prominent investors? [4:09]
    • [Ref: Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng raises US$587 million as it gears up to take on Tesla, SCMP and TechBuzz China episode on NIO]
    • What is the mission and vision of Xiaopeng Motors? [5:43]
    • Can you talk about He Xiaopeng, the CEO and Chairman of the company and former co-founder / CTO for UCWeb, China's largest web browser acquired by Alibaba Group over US$4.3B? What is his background before he started Xiaopeng Motors? [7:35] 
    • Does Xiaopeng Motors build their own cars? Where and how do they produce their electric cars? [8:55]
    • Recently, they have unveiled their latest car, G3 in CES and the car is priced at US$47K compared to Tesla Model 3 priced at US$30K, can you talk about the different car models which they have done so far or will be doing? [12:58]
    • Can you talk about William Li Bin, NIO’s celebrity founder and how has he managed to create a car company out of powerpoints? What is the rivalry between the EV car companies founders and other tech founders? [15:18]
    • Let’s expand the scope of the EV market in China out, and other than Xiaopeng & NIO, there are also other companies such as WM (or Weima) Motor and Byton, how are these EV cars company differ in how they approach the market?  [19:00]
    • Has the Chinese government like the US government during the Obama era been supportive of EVs, and have they offered similar type of incentives for the Chinese consumer? [22:52] 
    • What is their business model for Xiaopeng Motors? Is it similar to Tesla or NIO? [26:07]
    • How are EVs viewed and perceived in China? Will the chinese consumer purchase an electric car? [27:40]
    • It’s interesting that Alibaba backed Xiaopeng and Tencent backed NIO and is the EV market another extension or proxy war between the Chinese tech giants and what are their intentions behind the market? [29:20]
    • It seems that the car market is focused on EVs and not autonomous vehicles. Is that a tacit acknowledgement that self driving technologies are not ready for the Chinese market? [31:10]
    • How about the traditional car companies in China who have partnered with VW Group, GM Motors such as SAIC, or non-traditional car companies such as BYD which started off as a battery company and now a car company or new EV companies from the US such as Tesla? How do these players fit into this new EV market within China? [32:43]
  • Closing [34:47]
    • Can you recommend a book, podcast or anything else that has impact to your work and personal life recently? [34:55]
    • How do my audience find you? [35:38]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, "The Beginning" from Red Cliff Soundtrack and this episode is edited by Carol Yin, and co-produced by Carol Yin and Bernard Leong.