Geely to bring air taxis to China in tie-up with Daimler-backed Volocopter

German startup Volocopter said the new funds will be used toward bringing its VoloCity aircraft to commercial launch within the next three years. (AFP)
Updated 09 September 2019

Geely to bring air taxis to China in tie-up with Daimler-backed Volocopter

  • Daimler investment reflects how the Chinese company is transitioning to become a mobility technology group
  • The investment is not Geely’s first bet on flying machines

BEIJING: German startup Volocopter said it plans to form a partnership with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group that will bring its air taxis to China and that it has raised €50 million ($55.13 million) in fresh funding from the Chinese company and others.
Volocopter, which says it is building the world’s first manned, electric and vertical takeoff air taxis, said in a statement on Monday that the other investors in the new funding round include German luxury car maker Daimler, which it had previously raised money from.
It did not say how much each investor contributed, but added that the most recent deal increases the total capital it has raised to €85 million, and that the new funds will be used toward bringing its VoloCity aircraft to commercial launch within the next three years.
Geely’s chairman Li Shufu said in the statement that the investment reflected how the Chinese company is transitioning to become a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies.
The co-operation underlines “our confidence in Volocopter air taxis as the next ambitious step in our wider expansion in both electrification and new mobility services,” Li said.
The investment is not Geely’s first bet on flying machines. It is building a plant in China’s central city of Wuhan to make Terrafugia branded flying cars, company documents show.
Geely bought a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler in 2018. The companies have said they plan to build the next generation of Smart electric cars in China through a joint venture. They also plan to form a premium ride-hailing joint venture in China.


Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

Updated 22 February 2020

Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

  • G20 finance leaders to meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy
  • OPEC+ has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Friday as weak Asian data and a rise in new coronavirus cases fuelled uncertainty about the economic outlook while leading crude producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.

Brent crude was down $1.56, or 2.6 percent, at $57.75 in afternoon trade, while U.S. crude dropped $1.25, or 2.3 percent, to $52.63.

"With Brent failing to breach the $60 level on Thursday despite better than expected U.S. oil inventory data, rising market uncertainty is dragging down oil prices on Friday," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

"Market participants who benefited from the price rise in recent days might prefer not to go into the weekend with a long position."

 

China reports rise in coronavirus cases.

Japan factory activity shrinks at fastest pace since 2012.

Russia says early OPEC+ meeting no longer makes sense.

Finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy after new Asian economic and health data kept investors on guard.

Beijing reported an uptick in coronavirus cases on Friday and South Korea reported 100 new cases, doubling its infections. In Japan, meanwhile, more than 80 people have tested positive for the virus.

Factory activity in Japan registered its steepest contraction in seven years in February, hurt by fallout from the outbreak. 

"We still believe that the market is likely to trade lower from current levels, given the scale of the surplus over the first half of this year, and the need for the market to send a signal to OPEC+ that they must take further action at their meeting in early March," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that global oil producers understood it would no longer make sense for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to meet before the planned gathering.

The group, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs.