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China Evergrande could sell EV units stakes to Xiaomi

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Embattled Chinese property developer China Evergrande Group is in talks with smartphone maker Xiaomi and Shenzhen state-backed investment firms as it looks to sell part of a 65% stake in its electric vehicle (EV) unit, Reuters reported.

The China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Group had a market capitalization of $12.5 billion on Thursday and one of the sources said the consortium is looking to buy a significant minority stake. Evergrande, Xiaomi and Shenzhen’s state asset regulator did not respond to requests for comment. The talks were said by the sources to be at an early stage and subject to changes.

The developer said last week that it was in discussions with several independent third-party investors on the proposed sale of certain assets, including stakes in Evergrande NEV, as part of its efforts to reduce its debt. China Evergrande has been struggling to raise funds to pay its debts after Beijing stepped up curbs on the real estate sector to contain the risks of a bubble.

China’s central bank, banking and insurance regulator said they had summoned executives of Evergrande to a meeting on Thursday and issued a rare warning that the company ought to reduce its debt risks and prioritize stability.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi has been ramping up investments in EV suppliers after it unveiled its EV ambition with an investment of $10 billion in March, following its peers from Apple Inc to Huawei Technologies Co as they bet on more cars becoming battery-powered and smart. The potential deal would give Xiaomi EV production facilities to push forward its auto business, the sources said.

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