Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, based on official government documents dated February 23, Li Shufu, founder and chairman of China’s Geely Automobile, acquired 9.69 percent (around US$9 billion) of German automaker Daimler AG, thus becoming its largest shareholder. Daimler is one of the world’s top ten automakers, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, and the world’s second largest truck manufacturer. It is also famous for its Mercedes-Benz product line. Geely Automobile is China’s largest privately-owned automaker. Li Shufu, currently also the owner of Volvo, described his strategic vision as forming an alliance with Daimler to become the “final two or three” automakers that will dominate the global market in the future. Daimler did not disclose whether Li will be on the Board of the company or not. However, Brigitte Zypries, Minister for Economics and Energy in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, commented on February 26, that the German government will look carefully into this deal and will seek an explanation from Daimler. She expressed the concern that it is troublesome to see Daimler have a competitor sit in its Board of Supervisors.
(1) Sina, February 24, 2016
(2) Reuters Chinese, February 26, 2016