Itochu hikes stake in Chinese EV maker Singulato
Japan's Itochu Corporation has invested nearly $100 million in Chinese electric vehicle maker Singulato Motors - which owned around 1 percent last year - lifting its stake to about 7 percent, with plans to increase the holding if the startup meets certain conditions. That plan is dependent on Singulato accelerating development of its first model, an electric crossover called the iS6, and making proper preparations for an IPO.
The iS6 had been slated for a launch earlier this year but has faced some delays.
While it is valued at $3.5 billion according to China's science ministry and is one of the more high-profile EV startups in the world's biggest auto market, Singulato faces a much tougher funding environment. Not only have investors been put off by Tesla Inc.’s struggles to become profitable, as well as lackluster sales at fellow Chinese EV startup Nio, the sector is also grappling with government cuts to subsidies and plans to phase subsidies out altogether.