Rox Motor (洛轲智能), an EV startup founded by Roborock (石头科技, 688169.SH) CEO Chang Jing, has closed a strategic funding round valued at a staggering US$1 billion, Chinese media reported yesterday.
The mega-fundraiser, backed solely by Weiqiao Pioneering, a Shandong-based consortium, is the largest fundraising deal to take place this year in China’s red-hot EV industry.
Proceeds from the round will be used to develop a full aluminum body for Rox Motor’s vehicles, giga pressing technology, and smart short-cycle car factory.
Apart from announcing the funding, Shanghai-based Rox Motor also unveiled its first dealership and delivery center in suburban Songjiang District.
Since its birth in January 2021, Rox Motor has partnered with BAIC, a major state-run automaker, to incubate the Rox brand.
Under their tie-up, Rox will provide the smart driving solutions and designs while BAIC is tasked with manufacturing the cars.
Rox Motor has been a massive gambit by Chang Jing, founder, chairman and CEO of Roborock, one of China’s leading suppliers of robot vacuums, scrubbers and other home cleaning gadgets.
With a registered capital of 1 billion yuan, Rox Motor has been in the spotlight of late, due partly to Chang’s personal influences and also mass speculation as to whether the brand will survive China’s cutthroat EV market.
Uncertain industrial outlook
The industry is on the precipice of a shake-up as many brands, established or emerging, have been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy like Weltmeister (威马汽车).
Despite the uncertain prospect, Chang is still enticed to rush headlong into the EV-making frenzy.
What’s more, following the mega-investment by Weiqiao Pioneering, Rox Motor plans to accelerate its market expansion.
It decides to set up dozens of showrooms, delivery centers and service centers nationwide by the end of this year.
On top of this, the venture also looks to build or authorize 62 service hubs dedicated to sheet metal processing and paint straying in 55 cities across the country.
cnrobopedia reported earlier that the first model of Rox Motor, Rox 01, an all-terrain SUV available in six-seat and seven-seat versions, came out in August, with a sticker price of 359,900 yuan and 349,900 yuan.
Delivery is slated to begin in November this year.
A darling of investors
Despite the odds stacked against it, Rox Motor has been the darling of well-known investors.
In April 2021, it snagged its first fundraiser at a post-money valuation of US$240 million three months after it had been established.
Public records show that one year after its founding, Rox Motor bagged US$100 million from a Series B funding round.
Three months later, the firm announced a Series D financing round worth US$200 million, led by Coatue, with Sequoia Capital and IDG also pouring money into the transaction.
In early 2023, the startup completed its Series E round for an undisclosed amount of money.