China’s Xpeng Motors shares pop 40% in bumper New York IPO

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The Alibaba-backed (BABA) Chinese electric carmaker earlier said it had raised more money than expected, despite the souring of US-China relations.

Xpeng said Thursday that it sold more than 99.7 million shares for $15 each in its Wall Street debut, raising about $1.5 billion. It had originally planned to sell 85 million shares priced between $11 and $13.

Its stock began trading that day under the ticker XPEV, and closed at just over $21 per share.

The IPO comes as Chinese firms listed in New York face heightened scrutiny from US officials. Earlier this month, an advisory council run by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recommended that regulators require greater access to the accounts of Chinese firms seeking to list on US stock exchanges.

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An accounting scandal at Luckin Coffee (LK), which started trading in New York last year, has also contributed to the hostile environment for Chinese companies.

Following that controversy, the US Senate unanimously approved legislation in May that would prevent companies that refuse to open their books from listing on Wall Street, a move its sponsors said was designed to “kick deceitful Chinese companies off US exchanges.” The bill still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the president before becoming law.

In filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month, Xpeng cited the US regulatory environment and the potential passage of the bill as risks for investors to consider.

“Enactment of any of such legislation or other efforts to increase the US regulatory access to audit information could cause investor uncertainty for affected issuers, including us, and the market price of the [US shares] could be adversely affected,” the electric vehicle maker said.

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Founded in 2015, Xpeng is based in Guangzhou and also has an office in Silicon Valley.

It’s not the only Chinese electric automaker courting investors in the United States. Li Auto went public on the Nasdaq last month. And shares of Nio (NIO), which once positioned itself as China’s “Tesla killer,” have spiked 408% in New York so far this year, according to data from Refinitiv.
Xpeng is part of a crowded field of electric vehicle makers in China, the world’s largest auto market. The American carmaker Tesla (TSLA) recently upped its game in the country by slashing prices for consumers and producing cars at its Shanghai Gigafactory.

— Michelle Toh contributed to this report.

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