Geely Group, a company owned by Li Shufu and managed by Zheijang Geely Holding Group, has acquired a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler AG, through open market purchases of shares. The size of the investment leapfrogs a 6.8-percent stake in the Stuttgart-based group held by Kuwait and Renault-Nissan's 3.1-percent holding.
Li had been "convinced by Daimler's innovation strength, strategy and future potential", he added.
Chinese manufacturer Geely has made some incredibly bold moves over the last few years, including its purchase of Swedish automaker Volvo from Ford.
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Its move to buy more Daimler poses a big challenge for the Germany-based auto maker since Mercedes-Benz already holds an industrial alliance for developing vehicles with Renault-Nissan, which is owner of 3.1% of Daimler, and announced plans to build new electric vehicles with existing joint venture partner in China BAIC Motor Corporation.
Zhejiang Geely owns Volvo Cars, as well as the maker of London's black cabs and past year acquired a 49.9 percent stake in Malaysian automaker Proton. It issued a statement saying it was pleased with the investment.
Li, 54, is 10th on Forbes magazine's China Rich List and 209th on its global billionaires ranking, with an estimated net worth of US$16.6 billion (RM65 billion).
Daimler has said that it aims to make all Mercedes-Benz cars electric by the year 2022.
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The biggest shareholder in Germany's Daimler AG, Chinese carmaking giant Geely, has promised a long-term investment in the luxury auto firm after acquiring almost 10% of its shares.
It is to become a holding company combining three divisions: financial services, cars and small commercial vehicles and trucks and buses. It sold more than 1 million vehicles previous year. Volkswagen AG is owned by the Porsche-Piech billionaire clan with the government of Qatar counting as a major stakeholder, and BMW is owned by the wealthy billionaire Quandt-Klatten family.
Daimler is making Mercedes-Benz cars for the Chinese market locally via a joint venture with partner BAIC Motor Co (北京汽車).
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