Xpeng, an electrical car startup run by former Alibaba govt He Xiaopeng, mentioned Monday it has raised round $500 million in a Sequence C+ spherical to additional develop fashions tailor-made to China’s tech-savvy middle-class customers.

The announcement adopted its Sequence C spherical of $400 million closed final November. A supply advised TechCrunch that the corporate’s valuation on the time had exceeded the 25 billion yuan ($3.57 billion) spherical raised in August 2018.

The brand new proceeds carry the five-year-old Chinese language startup’s to-date fundings introduced to $1.7 billion.

Over the previous yr, the startup has been ensnared in a authorized battle with Tesla, which alleged {that a} former engineer stole Autopilot supply code earlier than becoming a member of Xpeng. The engineer Cao Guangzhi admitted downloading a few of Tesla’s supply code however mentioned he deleted all of the recordsdata earlier than leaving the corporate.

Tesla pressed ahead with a subpoena on Xpeng searching for proof like supply code and pc photos, which Xpeng described as a movement to “bully and disrupt a young competitor.” The continued pandemic has delayed the case’s proceedings.

Traders in Xpeng’s newest spherical embody Hong Kong-based non-public fairness agency Aspex Management; the storied American tech hedge fund Coatue Management; China’s prime non-public fairness fund Hillhouse Capital; and Sequoia Capital China. The opposite current big-name backers are Foxconn, Xiaomi, GGV Capital, Morningside Enterprise Capital, IDG Capital, and Primavera Capital.

Regardless of the sizable spherical, Xpeng is headed for a slew of challenges. Electrical car gross sales in China have shrunk within the wake of decreased authorities subsidies set in movement final yr, and the COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to additional dampen demand because the financial system weakens.

Xpeng’s Chinese language rival Byton, which counts heavyweights backers like Tencent, FAW Group, and Foxconn, is already displaying indicators of pressure because it furloughed about half of its 450 North America-based employees citing coronavirus influence. In June, the corporate put the brakes on production for inner reorganization.

Xpeng’s different opponents appear to have confirmed extra resilient. In April, Nasdaq-listed Nio secured a $1 billion funding for its Chinese language entity, whereas Li Auto ventured to file for a U.S. public listing in July.

Xpeng claims it has to this point been in a position to stand up to coronavirus challenges. In Could, the corporate obtained a production license for its fully-owned automobile plant in a metropolis close to its Guangzhou headquarters, signaling its decreased dependence on manufacturing associate Haima Car.

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