Along with changes in the domestic and foreign regulatory environments and the policy reform of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), the Hong Kong market becomes increasingly attractive to some China-based US-listed companies. The return of China-based overseas-listed companies has become a trend now. Li Auto Inc (2015.HK) is among the three major China-based overseas-listed NEV companies listing on HKEX today through a dual primary listing, after Xpeng Motors Inc (9868.HK) was listed in Hong Kong on July 7. The IPO is jointly sponsored by Goldman Sachs and China International Capital Corporation (CICC), with UBS as the financial advisor.
Advanced Smart Automobile Solutions Drive Rapid Sales Growth
Li Auto Inc, incorporated in 2015, is a Chinese NEV (new energy passenger vehicle) automaker, specializing in designing, developing, manufacturing, and sales of premium smart electric vehicles. On July 30, 2020, Li Auto Inc was listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol LI.
Li ONE, as Li Auto’s first extended-range electric passenger vehicle (EREV), is a six-seat large premium electric SUV (sport utility vehicle) equipped with the Company’s independently developed range extension system and advanced smart vehicle solutions. An EREV is purely electric-driven by its electric motor, but its energy source and power come from both its battery pack and range extension system. With its integrated powertrain system, Li ONE delivers a total NEDC range of 1,080 kilometers. Meanwhile, this model’s energy can be replenished by slow charging, fast charging, and refueling. Li ONE can operate even when users have no access to charging infrastructure, thereby completely eliminating range anxiety.
Advanced technology not only improves product quality, but also significantly promotes the Company’s sales. Data after the hearing showed that the total number of vehicles that the Company delivered in the first quarter of 2021 was 12,579, representing an increase of 334.4% YoY. The delivery volume in the first half of this year already represented around 92% of that in the previous year. As of July 31, 2021, total deliveries in 2021 reached 38,743, bringing cumulative deliveries of Li ONE to 72,340 since its market debut. In 2020, Li ONE was recognized as the best-selling new energy SUV model in China with a 9.7% market share according to the CIC Report.
Multi-faceted Comprehensive Layout of Dual Listing to Enhance Competitiveness
Li Auto is accelerating to fully develop its R&D, capacity, and channels, while maintaining the current business. Currently, the Company is developing the X platform, which succeeds the existing EREV platform for Li ONE and is equipped with the next-generation EREV powertrain system. The Company plans to launch the first product on the X platform, a full-size premium extended-range electric SUV – in 2022, and two additional SUVs on the platform in 2023.
In terms of BEV models, Li Auto is investing significantly in the HPC (High-power Charging) BEV technologies, and developing two platforms, Whale and Shark, for its HPC BEVs. Starting from 2023, the Company plans to launch at least two new HPC BEV models every year.
In regard to autonomous driving, Li Auto is strengthening R&D and investing significantly in its proprietary autonomous driving technologies. It is expected that all the new models of the Company will be equipped with necessary hardware compatible with in-house developed, future Level 4 autonomous driving as a standard configuration from 2022. Furthermore, the Company will continue to optimize its autonomous driving solutions leveraging its full-stack proprietary software development capabilities.
China has become the world’s largest NEV market. In recent years, the growth of NEV sales volume has surpassed that of the ICE vehicles in China. According to the CIC Report, the NEV sales volume in China increased from 300,000 in 2016 to 1.2 million in 2020, representing a CAGR of 41.7%. In 2020, the NEV sales volume only accounted for 5.8% of the total passenger vehicle sales volume, implying massive future growth potential.
It is expected that the NEV sales volume in China will continue to rise at the CAGR of 35.8% from 2020 to 2025, driven by favorable policies, constantly developing auto technology, a rapid decrease in battery costs, and higher popularity of NEVs among consumers (due to a deeper understanding of intelligent technology and the Internet and demand growth), the CIC Report showed.
Li Auto Inc, as one of the top three Chinese new auto brands, choosing dual primary listing in Hong Kong, will expand the financing channel and acquire sustainable financial support. The primary listing of Li Auto offers a lot of capital reserves to future technology development and product R&D in order to further reinforce its competitiveness and consolidate and raise its market share.