Li Shufu, the main owner of China’s Geely, recently acquired a huge new stake in Daimler, the 13th largest car manufacturer in the world. If you’re keeping track, that’s the third European automaker that Geely or Shufu own or have large interests in, after Geely bought Volvo in 2010 and purchased a 51 percent stake in Lotus last year.
Li’s motivation behind the investment? Electric cars.
Sources told Reuters this month that Geely was buying Daimler shares as it seeks an alliance in electric vehicle technology - a response to Chinese requirements for more clean cars to be put on the road to cut pollution.
Li’s been interested in Daimler for a while, offering to buy a five percent stake in Daimler in November, though getting turned down then. Foreign investment in Daimler isn’t anything new; as Reuters notes, the next biggest shareholder is the Kuwait Investment Authority. Kuwait, though, likely has different expectations than Li, whose investment has a more strategic goal in mind.