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Byton raises US$500m to take on Tesla

Washington

CHINA-BASED electric car startup Byton has raised US$500 million as it ramps up efforts to take on rivals like Tesla.

Byton's new capital is led by FAW Group, Tus-Holdings, CATL and others, a statement from its North American headquarters in California said on Monday.

"The success of this funding round highlights how diversified strategic investors will further expand Byton's circle of friends and broaden our development opportunities," said president and co-founder Daniel Kirchert. "Byton is establishing a new benchmark for auto startups with four essential 'must haves', namely technology, product, capital and factory," he added.

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Early this year, the company unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show its vision for "intuitive and intelligent" cars for global markets starting next year from around US$45,000.

Byton is led by former executives from Tesla, BMW, Apple and Google, and expects to launch in China by 2019 and in the US and Europe by 2020. The statement said Byton officially opened its global headquarters in Nanjing, China, which works with a research centre in Silicon Valley and a design centre in Munich, Germany.

The first batch of prototype models is set to roll out in April 2019 for testing, with the pilot production programme starting in the first half of 2019. AFP