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Autos

Baidu-backed Chinese EV startup WM Motor raises $1.5 billion

FILE PHOTO: WM Motor's founder and CEO Freeman Shen and Vice President of Strategic Planning, Lobo Lu attend the WM Motor brand launch event in Shanghai, China, December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - Baidu-backed BIDU.O Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup WM Motor said on Tuesday it has raised 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) in its latest funding round.

As enthusiasm builds for more climate-friendly vehicles, shares of EV makers, including Tesla Inc TSLA.O and Nio Inc NIO.N, have surged in recent months and auto makers are looking to the markets for funds.

Shanghai-based WM's local rivals Li Auto Inc LI.O, Xpeng Inc XPEV.N are listed in New York.

Investors in WM's latest funding round include Shanghai's state-owned asset regulator's investment firms and SAIC Motor 600104.SS. WM did not disclose its valuation after the funding.

The funding will help WM further develop intelligent vehicle technologies and expand sales channels. The company is eyeing a STAR board listing and has started preparing for it, sources familiar with the matter said.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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