Demand will continue, problems with the supply chain

Chinese electric car company Nio delivered more than 5,000 vehicles in April, despite Kovid restrictions in some parts of China, although it fell sharply from a supply of about 10,000 vehicles in March.

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BEIJING – Neo’s biggest challenge right now is to ensure the supply chain is stable, CEO William Lee told CNBC.

Chinese electric car makers have had to charge customers more because of rising raw materials.

The company had to suspend production temporarily in April when Covid Control Neo prevented it from receiving parts from suppliers. However, the company said it was able to resume some production a few days later.

Yet, as of Thursday, Li still described the overall state of auto production in China as a process of recovery while Shanghai and other parts of the country are under Kovid control.

On the sales front, Lee said he expects consumer demand for electric vehicles to continue – even if the Chinese government cuts subsidies or other policy support for the sector.

Despite the Covid restrictions, Nio delivered more than 5,000 vehicles in April, although it fell sharply from a supply of about 10,000 vehicles in March.

Sales of passenger cars fell 35.5% year-on-year in April, but new energy cars – including battery-powered electric cars – saw a 78.4% increase in sales, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

Neo’s plan for Southeast Asia

Lee, who is also the founder and chairman of Neo, was speaking in an interview with CNBC’s Emily Tan ahead of the company’s secondary listing in Singapore.

On Friday, Neo introduced a secondary listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange through an introduction – which is different from an initial public offering because no new capital is raised and less paperwork is required. Instead, the listing primarily allows investors to trade the company’s shares on an exchange other than the original trading venue.

In early March, Neo also made a secondary listing in Hong Kong through the introduction. The company’s first and foremost list is the New York Stock Exchange.

The auto executive did not elaborate on why the company chose Singapore as the third-ranked company, but said Neo could reach more investors in this way.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

But Lee said Neo plans to open a research and development center in Singapore in the near future to export cars to Southeast Asia and to use artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. He did not give a specific date.

So far, the company has focused most of its overseas expansion in Europe, primarily in Norway.

The start-up’s main trading venue remains NYSE, where the company made its initial public offering in 2018.

Since that IPO, Nio’s U.S.-listed shares have risen nearly 150% – a volatile three-plus year that included several quarterly sinks and a full year in 2020 that has risen more than 1,100%.

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