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China's Didi EV joint venture with Li Auto applies for bankruptcy - court

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: China's Didi Global Inc. debuts on New York Stock Exchange

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi's joint venture with Li Auto has applied for bankruptcy, according to a court filing, pointing to the end of a four-year-old partnership to make electric vehicles (EV).

The company, 51% owned by Didi while 49% held by Li Auto, submitted the bankruptcy application to Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Thursday, a statement on a website run by the Supreme Court showed.

Didi and Li Auto did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Didi and Li Auto, previously known as Chehejia, established Beijing Judian Chuxing Technology in 2018 to develop and manufacture customized smart electric vehicles for ride-hailing services. It was also among a series of partnerships Didi struck with major automakers including Volkswagen, Toyota and BYD with plans to adopt more EVs with autonomous driving technologies in its fleets.

While Didi and BYD launched a co-developed EV model D1 in 2020, most of the collaborations have made little progress.

Scrutiny from Beijing for suspected violation of data security has forced Didi to de-list from the New York Stock Exchange and reined in its business since last July.

However, the ride-hailing firm has quietly pushed ahead with a car-making project, code-named "Da Vinci", Reuters reported in June.

It was also in advanced talks with state-backed Sinomach Automobile to buy a third of its electric-vehicle unit, Reuters reported then.

(Reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh; Editing by Robert Birsel)