Chinese billionaire Li Shufu, who is also the Chairman of Geely Automobile Holdings (which owns Volvo), has purchased a 9.69% stake in Daimler worth around €7.2 billion (US$8.9 billion). This purchase makes him the German group’s largest single stakeholder. Li Shufu, 54, ranks 10th on Forbes magazine’s China Rich List and 209th on its global billionaires ranking, with an estimated net worth of $16.6 billion.
Geely, the Chinese company also owns Volvo Cars AB and the British sport car manufacturer Lotus Cars Limited. Daimler has welcomed this major investor to its fold. The company has been seeing increased trajectory and reclaimed the No. 1 spot in luxury car segment from BMW AG with a new lineup and increased offerings in the SUV segment.
As per sources, Li Shufu believes there is huge transformation in the making in the auto industry. Eventually, the future will see only 2 or 3 automobile companies in existence. Others will either die, or will be purchased by either of the only existing two – three companies.
Earlier this week, Mr Shufu said that auto companies of today will have to collaborate in order to respond to the challenges which are being posted by new age companies like Uber, Google, Tesla, and so on.
Daimler is one of the companies on which Li Shufu seems to be betting to survive the automotive industry transformation. They have their present in firm hands, their future trajectory is also looking good. They have already formed alliances with other car companies.
For example – Daimler’s subsidiary Mercedes Benz has an alliance with Renault-Nissan which owns 3.1% stake in Daimler. Looking towards the future, Mercedes Benz has announced plans to build electric cars in China along with BAIC Moto Corporation. Mercedes Benz and BAIC Motors have recently entered into an agreement with the unveiling of a plant at an investment of $2 billion.