About a month after announcing that it would focus on the "AI OS + eco-services" model instead of making money from selling cars, GAC NIO's brand new business model has seen new progress.
On September 16, GAC NIO held an intelligent travel ecological summit in Beijing, mainly to show the outside world the network of relationships it has built-in the travel ecology.
GAC NIO's travel ecosystem partners are PKU Jinqiu New Technologies, Beijing Horizon Robotics Technology, WeRide, 1Hai, Xin Ding Capital, and Fuwode Capital.
Among them, PKU Jinqiu is a high-tech company that will provide industry trend foresight research for GAC NIO's smart mobility ecosystem.
Beijing Horizon Robotics is an in-vehicle AI chip company, which will provide computing power support for in-vehicle chips.
WeRide will provide GAC NIO with self-driving technology.
1Hai, a one-stop travel platform, will mainly provide scenario-based landing as well as data collection and integration.
Xin Ding Capital and Fuwode Capital will provide capital and partnership resources to GAC NIO.
GAC NIO said that with the arrival of these partners, GAC NIO has made substantial progress in building a closed-loop system that integrates software and hardware in the intelligent travel ecosystem.
The so-called "integrated software and hardware ecosystem" is a new business model announced by GAC NIO a month ago, that is, it will become a software and hardware integrated intelligent travel eco-services company, to focus on "hardware + AI OS + eco-services members".
The reason why GAC NIO proposes to do the business model of "hardware + AI OS + eco-services membership" is mainly because it is an indisputable fact that car manufacturing in the automotive industry has low profit margins, starting from the service is a new opportunity for a new car company.
However, there is controversy in the industry about GAC NIO's business model.
Some argue that car companies should build good cars first and that service is just a plus. In addition, the mobile phone industry's model of making money from AI, software, and other value-added services is based on a large user base and traffic base, but is GAC NIO's limited user scale suitable for this model?
Up to now, the GAC NIO's sales have been very limited, which will probably be a major factor limiting the development of the new model.
According to the data, since the delivery of the first GAC NIO HYCAN 007 started in May, up to July this year, the GAC NIO sold a total of 302 units.
But on the other hand, the GAC NIO has not received external financing for a long time, and the new business model may be a way to get financing.
GAC NIO was founded in April 2018, with equity mainly held by Hubei Changjiang NIO New Energy Industry Development Fund Partnership (Limited Partnership) (22.5%), Shanghai NIO Automotive Co. (22.5%), GAC New Energy Vehicle Co. (22.5%), Guangzhou Kaichuang Gongjin Investment Partnership (Limited Partnership) (10% shareholding).
Its registered capital is RMB 500 million, but its paid-in capital is only RMB 340 million. Apart from the above funds, public information shows that GAC NIO has no other public funds in its books.
William Li Bin, chairman of NIO Automotive, once said, "If you don't have 20 billion yuan, it's very difficult to make cars”.
Although GAC NIO has the advantage of the resources of both GAC and NIO as shareholders, for a brand new brand to enter the market, its existing financial support is still a drop in the bucket when it comes to making cars.
At the GAC NIO Eco-Summit, Xin Ding Capital announced the launch of a smart travel eco-fund with GAC NIO, with the first phase of the fund reaching $1 billion.
According to Zhang Chi, chairman of Xin Ding Capital, the fund will mainly support the rapid development of GAC NIO's "hardware + AI OS + eco-membership" service system. But it is not only that, the fund will also bring all the industry participants to join the smart mobility ecosystem.
It's worth noting, however, that the $1 billion can be considered as the funding that GAC NIO is introducing. Neither Xin Ding Capital nor GAC NIO was explicit at the event.