Depending on who you ask, the Chinese billionaire bolstering Faraday Future’s operations has no money. But LeEco, whose owner Jia Yuentig is behind the Silicon Valley car startup, reportedly received $1.44 billion from an unidentified investor on the same day it broke ground on a new electric car factory in China.
The South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday that LeEco, the Chinese tech giant intermingled with Faraday Future’s saga, has started work on a new electric car factory that will have the capacity to produce upward of 400,000 vehicles by 2018. Across the Pacific, work has been stalled since November on the LeEco-backed megafactory in Nevada for Faraday Future.
Jia wasn’t at the ceremony in China, however. Electrek reported that he’s in California, where he has taken the helm of FF as of last week. And if that’s not enough, CarNewsChina said that LeEco hasn’t yet received a legally-required government license to produce cars. The website politely referred to this as “a risky strategy.”
“Jia is not very popular in Beijing at the moment, so there is a real possibility the license will be refused,” CarNewsChina wrote.
For Faraday, the groundbreaking for LeEco’s new factory comes at a curious moment. Last week, two high-profile executives fled the company, and it emerged this week that Ding Lei, a top LeEco exec who reportedly ran FF, also left the company. All of this, within days of what’s being pegged as a make-or-break moment for the company.