Chinese electric vehicle start-up BeyonCa has set its sights on the Middle East with the signing of a preliminary investment deal with Riyadh-based Al Faisaliah Group that is expected to help raise fresh funds and fuel growth.
He was with the German carmaker for 16 years starting in 2005 after stints at Mitsubishi Motors China and Daimler-Benz Northeast Asia.
The carmaker said it has also sealed a cooperation agreement with QG FZE-LLC, a Middle East-based venture builder with experience in the automotive industry.
BeyonCa joins a flurry of Chinese carmakers making a beeline for Middle East, but the region does not represent easy pickings as ‘Chinese car brands … are still little-known in the Middle East’: analyst
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) start-up BeyonCa has set its sights on the Middle East with the signing of a preliminary investment deal with Riyadh-based Al Faisaliah Group (AFG) that is expected to help raise fresh funds and fuel growth.
The Beijing-based carmaker, which is backed by French automobiles manufacturer Renault and China’s Dongfeng Motor, said on Monday that the agreement signed last week would result in “a substantial investment” if it were to materialise. BeyonCa did not provide further details about the size of the potential investment.
“BeyonCa and AFG have enthusiastically embarked on a collaborative journey to cultivate the EV market in the Middle East,” the company said in a statement. “Both companies will jointly explore opportunities for EV development, encompassing research and development, manufacturing, trade, retail, charging, insurance, ecological services and allied sectors.”
A signing ceremony was held at state-owned Dongfeng’s headquarters in Wuhan, in Hubei province, on Friday.
BeyonCa is the latest Chinese start-up to target the Middle East amid escalating competition at home. Mainland China, with about 200 players, is the world’s largest EV market.
At the end of last year, Zhejiang-based Enovate Motors, which does not rank among the top Chinese EV makers, announced a plan to build a factory in Saudi Arabia, following a state visit by President Xi Jinping to the Middle Eastern country. The carmaker, which counts Shanghai Electric Group as an early investor, signed an agreement with Saudi Arabian authorities and joint-venture partner Sumou to set up an EV plant with an annual capacity of 100,000 units.
Shanghai-based Human Horizons, another minor player that makes luxury EVs priced at US$80,000, established a US$5.6 billion venture with Saudi Arabia’s investment ministry in June to conduct “automotive research, development, manufacturing and sales”. Human Horizon’s sole brand, HiPhi, does not feature in the list of China’s top 15 EVs in terms of monthly sales.
In mid-August, China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group, the carmaking unit of embattled property developer China Evergrande Group, received US$500 million in fresh capital from Dubai-based NWTN, a mobility technology company formerly known as Iconiq Motors. The partnership “would be instrumental in addressing the EV needs of the Middle East”, according to a statement by the companies.
BeyonCa was founded in 2021 by Soh Weiming who has previously served as an executive vice-president of Volkswagen’s China operations. He was with the German carmaker for 16 years starting in 2005 after stints at Mitsubishi Motors China and Daimler-Benz Northeast Asia.
The carmaker expects to take on the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi in the luxury segment with new models that also come packed with unique healthcare services.
BeyonCa smart EVs under development will not only monitor the driver’s health, but will also automatically intervene by slowing down or stopping the car in the emergency lane if and when a driver shows signs of cardiovascular distress, strokes or driving fatigue, Soh said.
The carmaker said it has also sealed a cooperation agreement with QG FZE-LLC, a Middle East-based venture builder with experience in the automotive industry. The two companies will explore investment opportunities in the Middle East.
“The EV market in the Middle East is untapped so far,” said David Zhang, a visiting professor at Huanghe Science and Technology College.
“But it is not easy for Chinese car brands to explore the market there because they are still little-known in the Middle East.”
This Article was written by Daniel Ren