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Beyonca’s GT Opus 1 concept car is unveiled at the electric vehicle start-up’s headquarters in Beijing, in October 2022. Photo: Reuters

BeyonCa to establish the first ‘Made in Hong Kong’ car brand with smart electric vehicle

  • The Chinese premium electric vehicle start-up plans to build a factory and establish its global headquarters in Hong Kong as it looks to gain a foothold in the industry
BeyonCa, a Chinese premium electric vehicle (EV) start-up, said it will build a factory and establish its global headquarters in Hong Kong as it looks to tap the strong automotive supply-chain and rich international talent pool in the Greater Bay Area and gain a foothold in the industry.
It plans to set up a production line and four major centres for research and marketing at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP)’s advanced manufacturing site at Tseung Kwan O, according to Soh Weiming, founder and chairman of BeyonCa.

The company, backed by French carmaker Renault, envisions building itself into a “Made in Hong Kong” brand while creating an EV ecosystem that encompasses design, innovation, production, and marketing, Soh said.

“The approach is not about building what and where,” he said in an interview on Friday. “In my view, it is about building a brand. Brand is a combination of culture, art, history and technology.”

He said that it would take several months to finalise the plans for the construction and staffing of the assembly plant.


Chinese-made electric vehicles face additional EU import tariffs of up to 38%

Chinese-made electric vehicles face additional EU import tariffs of up to 38%

The government-owned HKSTP provides facilities, office space and support for technology companies.

BeyonCa, founded in 2021 by Soh, who had previously served at Volkswagen’s China operation for 16 years, aims to develop electric cars to take on the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the luxury segment.

Dirk van Braeckel, who has 40 years of automotive design experience and was behind several of Volkswagen’s models, now serves as chief design officer at BeyonCa.

The EV start-up expects to launch its first production model – an electric car – by the end of 2025, Soh said.

In October 2022, BeyonCa launched its first prototype model, the GT Opus 1. Its artificial intelligence-powered smart cockpit features the world’s first in-cabin, real-time monitoring of blood pressure and an online “cloud doctor” service. It automatically intervenes by slowing down or stopping the car if the driver shows signs of cardiovascular disease, a stroke or fatigue.

“Our focus is building good cars and good AI systems,” Soh said. “We are not going for volume. We are going for positioning and branding.”

Aside from the new assembly line, the other three main production processes – stamping, body welding and painting – will be conducted at BeyonCa’s mainland production bases, Soh said.

Both left-hand drive and right-hand drive models will be assembled at the Hong Kong plant.

BeyonCa will target China and Europe, the two key markets for premium EVs, according to Soh, who is also chairman and CEO of Renault’s China operations. BeyonCa’s investors also include Chinese state-owned carmaker Dongfeng Motor.

Hong Kong enjoys an advantage over mainland cities because locally built cars are immune to the punitive measures faced by Chinese EV makers.

BeyonCa signed a preliminary investment deal with Riyadh-based AI Faisaliah Group last October to jointly explore opportunities for EV development in the Middle East.

Cutthroat competition on the mainland is currently ensnaring nearly all EV players in a price war.

It was sparked in February, when BYD, the world’s largest EV assembler, slashed the prices of nearly all of its cars by 5 to 20 per cent. Since then, the prices of 50 models across a range of brands have dropped by 10 per cent on average, according to Goldman Sachs.