Hi everyone. this is kenji in hong kong. the main message we wish to share with you this week is that prime time for chinese electric vehicles has arrived and the battle is on against tesla. we just saw the largest single round of ev start-up financing by shanghai-based wm motor and a big chunk of the $1.5bn in funding came from various state-backed investors (big story). this type of state-led support is something we have already witnessed in artificial intelligence (smart data).us-china tech tensions remain intense. while the us tiktok deal has descended into confusion, the ft has a forecast by frank long from schmidt futures that the next front line would be in video games (mercedes top 10). turning to india, apple is opening its maiden online shop there as the us company diversifies away from china (mercedes top 10). the modi administration has done many things wrong in dealing with the pandemic but amid it all, it did one thing that has helped nurture a new online industry (best of comment). the virus is still rampant, not only in india. in hong kong, a so-called third wave appears to be largely under control. let us not be complacent and stay safe until next week.
Chinas competitive firepower against tesla is building. wm motor, an electric vehicle start-up backed by a host of powerful chinese state entities and tech giant tencent, raised $1.47bn in a single round of funding in an indication of the surging ambitions animating chinas ev market.
The funds raised believed to be a record for a single round in chinas ev market swell the war chest of key chinese companies that are vying to reel in teslas striking market lead. it also reinforces a sense that prime time for chinese evs has finally arrived as mckinsey, a consultancy, increased its forecast for chinese electric car sales by 300,000 to 3.5m in 2022, up from 1.2m last year.
Key implications: chinas ev makers are riding a wave of consumer enthusiasm for evs largely created by tesla, which has been ramping up production at its $2bn gigafactory outside shanghai to satisfy surging domestic and overseas demand for its model 3.
Xpeng motors, which is backed by ecommerce group alibaba, raised $1.5bn in new york in august and li auto, a rival, raised $1.1bn on nasdaq in july. nio, another chinese ev maker, received a cash infusion of $1bn in april and recently recorded its first quarterly profit.
Wm autos investors reveal the depth of chinas ev vogue. its latest fundraising was led by saic motor, one of chinas largest state-owned car companies. the government of hubei province and the cities of suzhou, hengyang, hefei and guangzhou also participated.
Upshot: tesla is the runaway leader in chinas vibrant ev market but the funds raised by chinese challengers and the pedigree of their state and corporate backers show that the market is set to become a battle royale over the next few years.
The indian government led by prime minister narendra modi has had a series of policy failures in coping with the covid-19 pandemic, writes ken koyanagi, the nikkei asian reviews editor-at-large.
But there is one government measure that is considered as having been a timely success: a regulatory framework regarding telemedicine services that the government announced on march 25, the same day the lockdown started. it was rolled out at a key moment, as many indians started avoiding hospital and clinic visits but still needed consultations and treatments from doctors and nurses.
A number of indian start-ups had been trying to take pioneering steps in the telemedicine market before the release of the guidelines but had faced difficulties taking on physicians and other licensed medical professionals to their platforms, as the legality surrounding various online practices was unclear. the guidelines therefore helped clarify the situation and gave these start-ups a boost.
Mfine is a case in point. it is a bangalore-based ai platform on which doctors interact with patients for consultation, diagnosis, treatment decisions and drug prescription. since the end of february this year, it has seen the number of its partner hospitals double to about 520 and its doctors triple to more than 3,000. its daily transactions are now three times as many as in february.
Nvidias chief executive jensen huang appears to have a strong streak of flamboyance from his penchant for leather jackets to his tattoo based on the companys logo to his love of flashy ferraris.
But it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions about his personality. instead, the crucial driver of what could be the worlds biggest semiconductor deal has all the hallmarks of a hardworking silicon valley tech entrepreneur.
Huang will need that in spades, as his $40bn acquisition of chip designer arm holdings from softbank is threatening to provoke a backlash from other arm customers such as apple. that the taiwanese-born executive has ploughed ahead is a sign of just how much is at stake. having brought nvidia to the top of the chip industry through an unconventional route, he believes the deal could now help it become the dominant chip company of the ai age.
More from the fts richard waters here.
Fundraising by chinese ai start-ups has increased rapidly since beijing announced a drive in 2016, writes shuhei yamada, nikkei asia reviews asia tech chief editor.
A total of rmb237.8bnhas been invested in ai in china since 1998, with 86 per cent of that money coming since 2016, the year when the government included the ai drive in its new five-year plan. beijing led the city line-up in terms of funds attracted, showing the vibrancy of its ai start-up ecosystem in the current fundraising boom, according to a report compiled by the chinese tech news portal 36kr.