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China's Xpeng surges 67% on U.S. debut, raises $1.5 billion in IPO

(Reuters) - Shares of Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Inc XPEV.N jumped as much as 67% after its U.S. market debut on Thursday, as capital markets continue to reward new listings in what has been one of the best years for IPOs since the dotcom boom.

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Shares of Xpeng, which counts Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba BABA.N and Xiaomi Corp 1810.HK among its backers, opened at $23.10 per American Depositary Share (ADS), up from the raised offer price of $15.00 per ADS.

Earlier on Thursday, Xpeng increased the size of its U.S initial public offering by more than a third to about $1.5 billion, as global investors race to back companies promoting cleaner technology.

The IPO, which is the third major listing in New York by Chinese EV companies in the past two years, comes as share prices of EV makers including Tesla Inc TSLA.O and Nio Inc NIO.N have surged in recent months.

Companies have raised more than $70.0 billion in U.S. IPOs so far in 2020, outpacing the $62.5 billion in 2019, on track for the busiest year since 2014 and second-biggest since 2000.

Xpeng’s Chief Executive Officer He Xiaopeng, 42, who is also known for founding internet browser company UCWeb, said the company will focus on cars priced between 150,000 yuan ($21,804) to 300,000 yuan, a big mass-market segment in China, the world’s biggest auto market.

“In the past three months investors stopped questioning whether future cars will be electric and smart. They think the trend is inevitable,” He said.

Xpeng will use the funds for research and development, and to expand sales, He told Reuters.

The firm invested over 2 billion yuan in technology development last year, with around one-third on intelligent functions such as autonomous driving, He added.

Xpeng has sold over 20,000 electric vehicles, including new P7 sedans and G3 sport utility vehicles. It builds cars in two factories in China. He said a third model would also be a sedan, but declined to comment on the company’s future sales.

The company said in a filing it would price its shares at $15 each, after initially setting a price range of $11 to $13 per ADS when the deal was launched on Friday.

Xpeng had initially targeted raising $1.11 billion. Investors now value the company at over $11 billion.

There is also a so-called greenshoe option that would allow Xpeng to raise a further $224.4 million.

($1 = 6.8794 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing, Scott Murdoch and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Kim Coghill, Mark Potter and Shounak Dasgupta

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