China's Didi EV joint venture with Li Auto applies for bankruptcy - court

The logo for Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Global Inc is pictured during the IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) floor in New York City, U.S., June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

SHANGHAI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi's joint venture with Li Auto has applied for bankruptcy, according to a court filing, pointing to the end of a four-year-old partnership to make electric vehicles (EV).

The company, 51% owned by Didi while 49% held by Li Auto, submitted the bankruptcy application to Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Thursday, a statement on a website run by the Supreme Court showed.

Didi and Li Auto did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Didi and Li Auto, previously known as Chehejia, established Beijing Judian Chuxing Technology in 2018 to develop and manufacture customized smart electric vehicles for ride-hailing services.

It was also among a series of partnerships Didi struck with major automakers including Volkswagen , Toyota (7203.T) and BYD with plans to adopt more EVs with autonomous driving technologies in its fleets.

While Didi and BYD launched a co-developed EV model D1 in 2020, most of the collaborations have made little progress.

Scrutiny from Beijing for suspected violation of data security has forced Didi to de-list from the New York Stock Exchange and reined in its business since last July.

However, the ride-hailing firm has quietly pushed ahead with a car-making project, code-named "Da Vinci", Reuters reported in June. read more

It was also in advanced talks with state-backed Sinomach Automobile (600335.SS) to buy a third of its electric-vehicle unit, Reuters reported then.

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Reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh; Editing by Robert Birsel

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