Faraday Future, the California-based electric car startup, has been in limbo since the middle of last year due to financial woes, but the company has received a new lifeline. It comes from a rather unlikely place: a Chinese video game company.
The startup announced it has signed a joint-venture agreement with The9, a Chinese video game company worth around $100 million, this past Sunday. The9 long held the exclusive rights to host the game “World of Warcraft” online in China and also created the first internet currency in 1999. Why the company wants to break into electric cars is not exactly clear, but The9 will own 50 percent of the joint venture.
Faraday Future FF 91
The joint venture will serve the Chinese market by manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling a new model based Faraday Future’s FF91 called the V9. Faraday Future will contribute licensing for the V9 model as well as use rights to land in China. The9 will contribute up to $600 million. The investment will begin with $5 million, and further installments will be subject to meeting certain investment requirements.
Faraday Future said the joint venture is the first step to launching its dual-home-market approach for the U.S. and China. Should all go according to plan, the joint venture will produce 300,000 cars per year with the first cars ready for sale in China in 2020.
Faraday Future FF 91
Crucially, The9 will help Faraday Future “overcome its short-term cash flow difficulties” that could help it deliver the first FF91 production cars in the U.S. this year. A slew of lawsuits by its former backer, Evergrande Health, caused the investor to pull $2 billion of funding from Faraday Future. The Chinese health conglomerate eventually allowed the company to seek other funding and all lawsuits were dropped. Since then, this is the first time Faraday Future has secured new funding.
With the news of the funding, Faraday Future said it’s busy prepping numerous pre-production FF91 models and still plans to deliver the first production car this year.