Jia Yueting teases new Faraday Future EV after tie up with Chinese gaming firm
Apr 4, 2019
Jia Yueting, CEO of embattled electric vehicle (EV) startup Faraday Future, has teased the company’s new car on social media shortly after partnering with a Chinese gaming company on its production.
Jia posted a picture of the silhouette of the V9, which is based on the company’s FF91 SUV concept, on microblogging platforms Weibo and Twitter. He said that the new vehicle “blends design, AI, and seamless cabin connectivity.” The post marks the CEO’s return to Weibo after a two-month hiatus.
Late last month Faraday announced a deal with Chinese gaming company The9 to form a joint venture (JV) for the production, marketing, and sale of the V9 in China, with both sides holding equal control of the new firm. The9 pledged $600 million to the project, which is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 300,000 and begin selling the cars by 2020.
“That $600 million only gets them started on production,” Tu Le, founder of Beijing-based consultancy Sino Auto Insights, told TechNode. “They’ll need to sell a lot at the beginning to keep funding production.”
Faraday has yet to mass produce any vehicles. The company’s FF91 model was slated to begin production in December last year.
Faraday’s partnership with The9 comes among mounting financial trouble for the EV maker following a fallout with an investor, Chinese real estate giant Evergrande. The EV startup was forced to sell its headquarters in Los Angeles for around $10 million to stay afloat. The company has also put its 900-acre property in Las Vegas up for sale for $40 million.
Evergrande backed out of a $2 billion investment deal with Faraday at the end of 2018. Since then, Faraday has been seeking alternative investment. The breakup followed a months-long dispute over terms after Faraday requested an advance on a future payment from Evergrande. The Chinese company refused, and Faraday sought arbitration in Hong Kong. The companies eventually settled the dispute, with Evergrande taking control over Faraday’s operations in China.
Faraday’s new partner The9 was the second Chinese gaming company to list in the US, following Shangda Group. However, its business has mostly stagnated since it lost the rights to operate massively multiplayer online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” in China to NetEase in 2009.
“It’s two companies that need each other,” Le said of the deal between Faraday and The9.