Form 20-F
Table of Contents
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE
COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM
20-F
 
 
(Mark One)
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report
                    
For the transition period from
                    
to
                    
Commission file number
001-39466
 
 
XPeng Inc.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
Cayman Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
No. 8 Songgang Road, Changxing Street
Cencun, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Guangdong 510640
People’s Republic of China
(Address of principal executive offices)
Hongdi Brian Gu,
Honorary 
Vice Chairman and
Co-President 
Telephone:
+86-20-6680-6680
Email: ir@xiaopeng.com
At the address of the Company set forth above
(Name, Telephone,
E-mail
and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of each class
 
Trading Symbol(s)
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
American Depositary Shares, each
representing two Class A ordinary shares
 
XPEV
 
New York Stock Exchange
Class A ordinary shares, par value
US$0.00001 per share
*
     
New York Stock Exchange
 
*
Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on the New York Stock Exchange of American depositary shares. 
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g)
None
(Title of Class)
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
None
(Title of Class)
 
 
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
1,375,210,223 Class A ordinary shares were outstanding as of December 31, 2022
348,708,257 Class B ordinary shares were outstanding as of December 31, 2022
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    ☒  Yes
     ☐  No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    ☐  Yes    
☒  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    ☒  Yes    ☐  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation
S-T
(§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    ☒  Yes    ☐  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
non-accelerated
filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
       
Non-accelerated filer
     Emerging growth company  
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐
 
The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to
§240.10D-1(b).  
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registration has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
U.S. GAAP  ☒   International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board  ☐
   Other  ☐
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which consolidated financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.    ☐  Item    17  ☐    Item  18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule
12b-2
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934).    ☐  Yes    
  No
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.    ☐  Yes    ☐  No
 
 


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

 

                     Page  

PART I.

     
 

ITEM 1.

   IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS      3  
 

ITEM 2.

   OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE      3  
 

ITEM 3.

   KEY INFORMATION      3  
 

ITEM 4.

   INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY      69  
 

ITEM 4A.

   UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS      108  
 

ITEM 5.

   OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS      108  
 

ITEM 6.

   DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES      125  
 

ITEM 7.

   MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS      139  
 

ITEM 8.

   FINANCIAL INFORMATION      141  
 

ITEM 9.

   THE OFFER AND LISTING      142  
 

ITEM 10.

   ADDITIONAL INFORMATION      142  
 

ITEM 11.

   QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK      150  
 

ITEM 12.

   DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES      152  

PART II.

     
 

ITEM 13.

   DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES      154  
 

ITEM 14.

   MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS      154  
 

ITEM 15.

   CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES      155  
 

ITEM 16A.

   AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT      156  
 

ITEM 16B.

   CODE OF ETHICS      156  
 

ITEM 16C.

   PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES      156  
 

ITEM 16D.

   EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES      157  
 

ITEM 16E.

   PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS      157  
 

ITEM 16F.

   CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT      157  
 

ITEM 16G.

   CORPORATE GOVERNANCE      158  
 

ITEM 16H.

   MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE      158  
 

ITEM 16I.

   DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS      158  
 

ITEM 16J.

   INSIDER TRADING POLICIES      159  

PART III.

     
 

ITEM 17.

   FINANCIAL STATEMENTS      159  

        

  ITEM 18.    FINANCIAL STATEMENTS      159  
  ITEM 19.    EXHIBITS      159  

 

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CONVENTIONS THAT APPLY TO THIS ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 20-F

Except where the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report to:

 

   

“ADAS” are to advanced driver assistance systems, which are designed to assist drivers in driving and parking functions;

 

   

“ADSs” are to American depositary shares, each of which represents two Class A ordinary shares;

 

   

“affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs” are to (i) the individual shareholders of the Group VIEs, (ii) Guangzhou Kuntu Technology Co., Ltd., or Kuntu Technology, which is ultimately beneficially owned by Mr. Heng Xia and Mr. Tao He and holds all of equity interest in Xintu Technology; (iii) Guangzhou Xuetao Enterprise Management Co., Ltd., or Guangzhou Xuetao and (iv) the individual shareholders of Guangzhou Xuetao, namely Mr. Tao He and his spouse. For avoidance of doubt, affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs do not include Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology Co., Ltd., or Xiaopeng Technology, which is our subsidiary and holds 50% of equity interest in Zhipeng IoV, or Guangzhou Xiaopeng Zhihui Chuxing Technology Co., Ltd., or Xiaopeng Chuxing, which is our subsidiary and holds 50% of equity interest in Yidian Chuxing;

 

   

“app” are to computer program designed to run on smartphones and other mobile services;

 

   

“China” and the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macau Special Administrative Region, unless referencing specific laws and regulations adopted by the PRC and other legal or tax matters only applicable to mainland China; “PRC subsidiaries” and “PRC entities” refer to entities established in accordance with PRC laws and regulations;

 

   

“City NGP” are to City Navigation Guided Pilot, a high-level ADAS function, to perform a wide range of driving tasks for complex urban driving scenarios;

“CLTC” are to China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle, which is developed by the China Automotive Technology & Research Center to replace European testing procedures for fuel/energy consumption and emissions;

 

   

“E/E architecture” or “EEA” are to electrical/electronic architecture;

 

   

“EV” or “electric vehicle” are to the battery electric vehicle used for the carriage of passengers;

 

   

“the Group” are to XPeng Inc., the Group VIEs and their respective subsidiaries;

 

   

“Group VIEs” are to (i) Guangzhou Zhipeng IoV Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhipeng IoV, and (ii) Guangzhou Yidian Zhihui Chuxing Technology Co., Ltd., or Yidian Chuxing, (iii) Guangzhou Xintu Technology Co., Ltd, or Xintu Technology and (iv) Guangdong Intelligent Insurance Agency Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Qingdao Miaobao Insurance Agent Co., Ltd.), or GIIA. Each of Zhipeng IoV, Yidian Chuxing, Xintu Technology and GIIA is a “Group VIE”;

 

   

“ICE” are to internal combustion engine;

 

   

“individual shareholders of the Group VIEs” are to (i) Mr. Heng Xia, who holds 40% of equity interest in Zhipeng IoV and 10% of equity interest in Yidian Chuxing, (ii) Mr. Tao He, who holds 10% of equity interest in Zhipeng IoV, and (iii) Mr. Xiaopeng He, who holds 40% of equity interest in Yidian Chuxing;

 

   

“LIDAR” are to light detection and ranging;

 

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“mid- to high-end segment” are to the segment in China’s passenger vehicle market with prices ranging from RMB150,000 to RMB400,000, not including any government subsidy;

 

   

“MIIT” are to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China;

 

   

“NEDC” are to New European Driving Cycle, which is designed to assess the emission levels of car engines and fuel economy in passenger vehicles;

 

   

“NEV” are to new energy passenger vehicles, comprising of battery electrics vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (including extended-range electric vehicles) and fuel cell electric vehicles;

 

   

“OEM” are to automotive original equipment manufacturer;

 

   

“ordinary shares” are to our Class A ordinary shares, US$0.00001 par value per share and Class B ordinary shares, US$0.00001 par value per share; each Class A ordinary share is entitled to one vote; and each Class B ordinary share is entitled to 10 votes;

 

   

“OTA” are to over-the-air;

 

   

“RMB” or “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China;

 

   

“Smart EV” are to electric vehicles with a rich array of connectivity, advanced driver assistance systems and smart technology features;

 

   

“Subsidiaries” are to an entity controlled by XPeng Inc. and consolidated with XPeng Inc.’s results of operations due to XPeng Inc.’s equity interest in such entity, instead of contractual arrangements; for avoidance of doubt, the Group VIEs are not subsidiaries of XPeng Inc.;

 

   

“SUV” are to sport utility vehicle;

 

   

“US$,” “U.S. dollars,” or “dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States;

 

   

“XPENG,” “we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” are to XPeng Inc. and/or its subsidiaries, as the context requires; and

 

   

“2019 Equity Incentive Plan” are to the equity incentive plan of our company approved and adopted in June 2020, as amended and restated in June 2021.

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

This annual report on Form 20-F contains statements of a forward-looking nature. All statements other than statements of historical facts are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provision under Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. In some cases, these forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements included in this annual report relate to, among others:

 

   

our goal and strategies;

 

   

our expansion plans;

 

   

our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

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expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;

 

   

the trends in, and size of, China’s EV market;

 

   

our expectations regarding demand for, and market acceptance of, our products and services;

 

   

our expectations regarding our relationships with customers, suppliers, third-party service providers, strategic partners and other stakeholders;

 

   

competition for, among other things, capital, technology and skilled personnel, in our industry;

 

   

the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our business, results of operations and financial condition;

 

   

changes to regulatory and operating conditions in the industry and geographical markets in which we operate; and

 

   

general economic and business conditions.

We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs.

You should read these statements in conjunction with the risks disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” of this annual report and other risks outlined in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. Moreover, we operate in an emerging and evolving environment. New risks may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of such risks on our business or the extent to which any risk, or combination of risks, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this annual report and the documents that we have referred to in this annual report, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.

PART I.

 

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not Applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not Applicable.

 

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

Corporate Structure

The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure as of December 31, 2022. Certain entities that are immaterial to our results of operations, business and financial condition are omitted. Except as otherwise specified, equity interests depicted in this diagram are held as to 100%.

 

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LOGO

 

(1)

Investors in our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs are purchasing equity interest in XPeng Inc.

(2)

Includes (i) 131 subsidiaries that are wholly-owned by Guangzhou Chengxing Zhidong Automotive Technology Co., Ltd., or Chengxing Zhidong, (ii) four subsidiaries and three limited partnerships of which a majority equity interest is held by Chengxing Zhidong, and (iii) Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy Investment Co., Ltd., or Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy, of which 100% equity interest was held by Chenxing Zhidong as of December 31, 2022. Chengxing Zhidong and its subsidiaries are primarily involved in research and development, manufacturing and selling our Smart EVs and providing after-sales services. In January 2022, we acquired the remaining 50% equity interest in Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy, which has become our wholly-owned subsidiary. Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy holds an Enterprise Investment Project Filing Certificate of Guangdong Province for the Zhaoqing plant and has been listed in Announcement of the Vehicle Manufacturers and Products issued by the MIIT, which enables it to be a qualified manufacturer of EVs.

(3)

Includes (i) ten subsidiaries that are wholly-owned by Guangdong Xiaopeng Automobile Industry Holdings Co., Ltd. and (ii) two subsidiaries, of which 73.8% and 75% equity interest, respectively, is held by Guangdong Xiaopeng Automobile Industry Holdings Co., Ltd. Guangdong Xiaopeng Automobile Industry Holdings Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries are primarily involved in providing value-added services.

(4)

50% of equity interest in Zhipeng IoV is held by us, and Mr. Heng Xia, our co-founder and president, and Mr. Tao He, our co-founder and senior vice president, hold 40% and 10% of equity interest in Zhipeng IoV, respectively.

(5)

50% of equity interest in Yidian Chuxing is held by us, and Mr. Xiaopeng He, our co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, and Mr. Heng Xia hold 40% and 10% of equity interest in Yidian Chuxing, respectively.

 

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(6)

Xintu Technology is wholly owned by Guangzhou Kuntu Technology Co., Ltd., or Kuntu Technology. The ultimate holding company of Kuntu Technology is Guangzhou Chengpeng Technology Co., Ltd., in which Mr. Heng Xia and Mr. Tao He hold 80% and 20% equity interest, respectively.

(7)

Mr. Tao He, our co-founder and senior vice president, and his spouse, respectively holds 50.0% and 50.0% of equity interests in Guangzhou Xuetao, which wholly owns GIIA.

Contractual Arrangements with the Group VIEs and Their Shareholders

XPeng Inc. is not a Chinese operating company, but a Cayman Islands holding company, and the Group’s operations are primarily conducted by its subsidiaries in China. The Group also conducts certain non-core and non-essential operations and through contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs. Investors in our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares do not hold equity interest in the Group’s operating entities in China, but instead hold equity interest in XPeng Inc. As used in this annual report, “XPENG,” “we,” “us,” “our company” or “our” refers to XPeng Inc. and/or its subsidiaries, and “the Group” refers to XPeng Inc., the Group VIEs and their respective subsidiaries.

Under the PRC laws and regulations, the provision of value-added telecommunication service in the PRC is subject to foreign investment restrictions and license requirements. Therefore, we operate such business in China through Zhipeng IoV and Yidian Chuxing. Under the PRC laws and regulations, the operation of land surface mobile surveying and preparation of true three-dimensional maps and navigation electronic maps is subject to foreign investment prohibitions and license requirements. Therefore, we operated such business in China through Xintu Technology and its subsidiary, which is Jiangsu Zhipeng Kongjian Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhipeng Kongjian (formerly known as Jiangsu Zhitu Technology Co., Ltd.). Under the PRC laws and regulations, the provision of insurance agency service in the PRC is subject to foreign investment restrictions and license requirements. Therefore, we operate such business in China through GIIA. As such, the VIE structure provides investors with exposure to foreign investment in China-based operating companies where Chinese law either restricts or prohibits direct foreign investment in such companies. Investors may never hold equity interests in such Chinese operating companies.

Currently, the Group VIEs are (i) Guangzhou Zhipeng IoV Technology Co., Ltd., or Zhipeng IoV, which is primarily engaged in the business of development and the operation of an Internet of Vehicles (IoV) network involving the XPENG App; (ii) Guangzhou Yidian Zhihui Chuxing Technology Co., Ltd., or Yidian Chuxing, which is primarily engaged in the business of provision of online-hailing services through online platform including the Youpeng Chuxing App. Zhipeng IoV and Yidian Chuxing enables the Group to operate mobile apps, which enables us to offer a convenient customer experience; (iii) Guangzhou Xintu Technology Co., Ltd., or Xintu Technology. Zhipeng Kongjian, which is Xintu Technology’s wholly-owned subsidiary, primarily engaged in the operation of land surface mobile surveying and preparation of true three-dimensional maps and navigation electronic maps and is in the process of renewing the Surveying and Mapping Qualification Certificate. After the Surveying and Mapping Qualification Certificate is renewed, we plan to develop mapping and navigation solutions that will improve customers’ driving experience; and (iv) Guangdong Intelligent Insurance Agency Co., Ltd., or GIIA, which is primarily engaged in the business of providing insurance agency services.

We have entered into a series of contractual arrangements with each of Zhipeng IoV, Yidian Chuxing and Xintu Technology, such Group VIEs and the respective affiliate shareholders of such Group VIEs, including (i) power of attorney agreements, equity interest pledge agreements and loan agreements, which provide us with effective control over such Group VIEs; (ii) exclusive service agreements, which allow us to receive substantially all of the economic benefits from such Group VIEs; and (iii) exclusive option agreements, which provide us with exclusive options to purchase all or part of the equity interests in or all or part of the assets of or inject registered capital into such Group VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law.

 

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We have also entered into an agreement with Guangzhou Xuetao, the sole shareholder of GIIA, Mr. Tao He, our co-founder and senior vice president, and his spouse, that irrevocably authorized us to exercise all the management rights over GIIA, including the shareholder’s voting rights regarding the operation and management of GIIA. We are also entitled to purchase all or a portion of the equity interest in GIIA as provided in the agreement. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of the Group VIEs for accounting purposes. We have consolidated their financial results in our consolidated financial statements. However, we do not own a majority equity interest in Zhipeng IoV or Yidian Chuxing, and we do not own any equity interest in Xintu Technology or GIIA. We primarily operate our business through our subsidiaries in China, and the Group VIEs do not have a material contribution to the Group’s results of operations and the Group VIEs do not support material revenues reported within other subsidiaries of our company.

The contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs and the respective affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs involve unique risks to investors. Such arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the Group VIEs. If any of the Group VIEs or the respective affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs fails to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements in reliance on legal remedies under PRC law. These remedies may not always be effective, particularly in light of uncertainties in the PRC legal system. Furthermore, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law. Our contractual arrangements have not been tested in Chinese courts. Furthermore, the Chinese regulatory authorities could disallow the VIE structure. If we are unable to assert our control over the assets of the Group VIEs, we may experience disruptions to our business, and the value of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may decline. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Corporate Structure—We rely on contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs and their respective affiliate shareholders to operate certain businesses that do not have and are not expected in the foreseeable future to have material revenue contributions to the Group. Such contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control and otherwise have a material adverse effect as to our business.”

Operations in China

The Group faces various legal and operational risks and uncertainties associated with being based in and having its operations primarily in China and the country’s complex and evolving laws and regulations. These risks could result in a material change in the Group’s operations and/or the value of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares or could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless. For example, the Group has incurred, and will continue to incur, significant expenses to comply with laws and regulations relating to cybersecurity and data security, including those implemented recently by China’s government. The Group also faces risks associated with regulations on offerings conducted overseas by and foreign investment in China-based issuers, the use of the Group VIEs, and anti-monopoly regulatory actions, which may impact the Group’s ability to conduct certain businesses, accept foreign investments, or list on a U.S. or other foreign exchange outside of China. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risks Factors—Risks Relating to Doing Business in China.”

 

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Furthermore, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCA Act, may affect our ability to maintain our listing on the NYSE. Among other things, the HFCA Act provides if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the PCAOB for two consecutive years, the SEC shall prohibit our securities from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over the counter trading market in the U.S. In the event of such determination by the SEC, the NYSE would delist our ADSs. In December 2021, the PCAOB made its determinations, or the 2021 determinations, pursuant to the HFCA Act that it was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China or Hong Kong including our independent auditor. After we filed our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 on April 28, 2022, the SEC conclusively identified us as an SEC-identified issuer on May 26, 2022. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB issued a report that vacated its December 16, 2021 determination and removed mainland China and Hong Kong from the list of jurisdictions where it is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms. For this reason, we do not expect to be identified as a SEC-identified issuer under the HFCA Act after we file this annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2022. Each year, the PCAOB will determine whether it can inspect and investigate completely audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong, among other jurisdictions. If PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong and we continue to use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we would be identified as a SEC-identified issuer following the filing of the annual report on Form 20-F for the relevant fiscal year. There can be no assurance that we would not be identified as a SEC-identified issuer for any future fiscal year, and if we were so identified for two consecutive years, we would become subject to the prohibition on trading under the HFCA Act. See “Item 16I. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risks Factors—Risks Relating to Doing Business in China—If the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely our auditor at any point in the future for two consecutive years, our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, as amended, or the HFCA Act, and any such trading prohibition on our ADSs or threat thereof may materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs and value of your investment.”

PRC Permissions and Approvals

We have obtained all requisite permissions and approvals that are material to the Group’s operations in China as of the date hereof, including Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy Investment Co., Ltd., or Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy, and our Smart EVs (the G3i, the P5, the P7 and the G9) being listed in Announcement of the Vehicle Manufacturers and Products issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PRC, or the MIIT, which is the entry approval for Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy to become a qualified manufacturer of EVs and Smart EVs and for the manufacturing and sales of our Smart EVs (the G3i, the P5, the P7 and the G9). Given the uncertainties regarding interpretation, implementation and enforcement of relevant rules and regulations, as well as other factors beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we have obtained or will be able to obtain and maintain all requisite licenses, permits, filings and registrations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Certain of our operating subsidiaries may be required to obtain additional licenses or permits or make additional filings or registrations.”

Furthermore, the PRC authorities have recently promulgated new or proposed laws and regulations to further regulate securities offerings that are conducted overseas by China-based issuers. For more detailed information, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—Regulations on M&A Rules and Overseas Listings” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—Regulation Related to Internet Security and Privacy Protection”. According to these new laws and regulations and the draft laws and regulations if enacted in their current forms, in connection with our future offshore offering activities, we may be required to fulfill filing, reporting procedures with or obtain approval from the CSRC, and may be required to go through cybersecurity review by the PRC authorities. However, we cannot assure you that we can obtain the required approval or accomplish the required filing or other regulatory procedures in a timely manner, or at all. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Actual or alleged failure to comply with laws, regulations, rules, policies and other obligations regarding privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security could subject us to significant reputational, financial, legal and operational consequences,” “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors-Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Changes and developments in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws, rules and regulations may subject us to uncertainties.” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risks Factors—Risks Relating to Our Corporate Structure—Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law and its implementing rules and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

 

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Restrictions on Transfer of Funds

Our ability to pay dividends, if any, to the shareholders and ADSs investors and to service any debt we may incur will depend upon dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries. Under PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries are subject to certain restrictions with respect to paying dividends or otherwise transferring any of their net assets offshore to us. In particular, under PRC laws, rules and regulations, each of our subsidiaries incorporated in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its net income each year to fund certain statutory reserves until the cumulative amount of such reserves reaches 50% of its registered capital. These reserves, together with the registered capital, are not distributable as cash dividends.

The subsidiaries did not declare any dividends or make distributions to the holding company for each of the years presented. The consolidated Group VIEs cannot pay dividends to the subsidiaries or the holding company but rather transfer funds through technical service fees. The service fees charged between the Group VIEs and other entities within the Group were immaterial for each of the years presented.

Furthermore, we are subject to restrictions on currency exchange. The Renminbi is currently convertible under the “current account,” which includes dividends, trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, but not under the “capital account,” which includes foreign direct investment and loans, including loans we may secure from our PRC subsidiaries. Currently, our PRC subsidiaries may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” including payment of dividends to us, by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant PRC governmental authorities may limit or eliminate our ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions. Foreign exchange transactions under the capital account remain subject to limitations and require approvals from, or registration with, the SAFE and other relevant PRC governmental authorities. Since a significant amount of our future revenues and cash flow will be denominated in Renminbi, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to utilize cash generated in Renminbi to fund our business activities outside of the PRC or pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs, and may limit our ability to obtain foreign currency through debt or equity financing for our onshore subsidiaries.

If any of our subsidiaries incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing such debt may restrict its ability to pay dividends to us.

Since inception, we have not declared or paid any dividends on our ordinary shares or ADSs. We do not have any present plan to declare or pay any dividends on our ordinary shares or ADSs in the foreseeable future. We intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy.”

For certain Cayman Islands, PRC, Hong Kong and United States federal income tax considerations of an investment in the ADSs and Class A ordinary shares, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation.”

A. [Reserved]

B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not Applicable.

 

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C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not Applicable.

D. Risk Factors

Summary of Risk Factors

Investing in our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares involves significant risks. You should carefully consider all of the information in this annual report before making an investment in our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares. Below please find a summary of the principal risks we face, organized under relevant headings.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

 

   

We have a limited operating history and face significant challenges as a new entrant into our industry.

 

   

As we continue to grow, we may not be able to effectively manage our growth, which could negatively impact our brand and financial performance.

 

   

Our research and development efforts may not yield expected results.

 

   

If our Smart EVs, including software systems, fail to offer a good mobility experience and meet customer expectations, our business, results of operations and reputation would be materially and adversely affected.

 

   

We may be subject to risks associated with ADAS technologies.

 

   

Our customers may cancel their orders despite their deposit payment and online confirmation.

 

   

China’s passenger vehicle market is highly competitive, and demand for EVs may be cyclical and volatile.

 

   

We have incurred significant losses and negative cash flows from operating activities, all of which may continue in the future.

 

   

The continuing shortage in the supply of semiconductors may be disruptive to the Group’s operations and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

   

Our business plans require a significant amount of capital. If we fail to obtain required external financing to sustain our business, we may be forced to curtail or discontinue the Group’s operations. In addition, our future capital needs may require us to sell additional equity or debt securities that may dilute our shareholders or introduce covenants that may restrict the Group’s operations or our ability to pay dividends.

 

   

The unavailability, reduction or elimination of government and economic incentives or government policies that are favorable for new energy vehicles and domestically produced vehicles could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

   

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our results of operations.

 

   

We depend on revenues generated from a limited number of Smart EV models.

 

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Actual or alleged failure to comply with laws, regulations, rules, policies and other obligations regarding privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security could subject us to significant reputational, financial, legal and operational consequences. For instance, any misuse of smart technology, such as facial recognition technology, may have a material adverse effect on our reputation and results of operations.

Risks Relating to Doing Business in China

 

   

Changes and developments in the political and economic policies of the PRC government may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and may result in our inability to sustain our growth and expansion strategies. The Chinese government may intervene or influence the Group’s operations if we fail to comply with applicable PRC laws, regulations or regulatory requirements, and may exert more control over offerings conducted overseas and foreign investment in China-based issuers, which could result in a material change in the Group’s operations and the value of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs. Any actions by the Chinese government to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless.

 

   

For instance, on February 17, 2023, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, promulgated the Trial Administrative Measures of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (“Overseas Listing Trial Measures”) and relevant five guidelines, which became effective on March 31, 2023. The Overseas Listing Trial Measures would impose filing requirements on both “direct” and “indirect” overseas offering or listing of PRC domestic companies. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been informed by any PRC governmental authority of any requirement that we shall apply for approval or filing for our initial public offering in the U.S. in August 2020, our follow-on public offering completed in December 2020 or our listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the associated public offering in July 2021. However, since the PRC authorities have promulgated new laws and regulations recently to further regulate securities offerings that are conducted overseas, in connection with our future overseas securities offering or listing, we may be required to fulfill filing, reporting procedures or other administrative procedures with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities. In addition, we cannot guarantee that new rules or regulations promulgated in the future will not impose any additional requirement on us or otherwise to tighten the regulations on PRC companies seeking overseas listing. Any failure to obtain the relevant approval or complete the filings and other relevant regulatory procedures may subject us to regulatory actions or other penalties from the CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operations or financial conditions.

 

   

Changes and developments in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws, rules and regulations may subject us to uncertainties.

 

   

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor which the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board was unable to inspect and investigate completely before 2022 and, as such, our investors have been deprived of the benefits of such inspections in the past, and may be deprived of the benefits of such inspections in the future.

 

   

If the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely our auditor at any point in the future for two consecutive years, our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, as amended, or the HFCA Act, and any such trading prohibition on our ADSs or threat thereof may materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs and value of your investment.

 

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Certain PRC regulations establish more complex procedures for acquisitions conducted by foreign investors that could make it more difficult for us to grow through acquisitions.

 

   

PRC regulations relating to investments in offshore companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC-resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries or limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits.

Risks Relating to Our Corporate Structure

 

   

Revenue contributions from the Group VIEs have not been and are not expected in the foreseeable future to be material. Nonetheless, if the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to the Group VIEs do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may decline in value if we are unable to assert our contractual control rights over the assets of the Group VIEs.

 

   

Our contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs may result in adverse tax consequences to us.

 

   

We rely on contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs and their respective affiliate shareholders to operate certain businesses that do not have and are not expected in the foreseeable future to have material revenue contributions to the Group. Such contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control and otherwise have a material adverse effect as to our business.

 

   

If we exercise the option to acquire equity ownership of the Group VIEs, the ownership transfer may subject us to certain limitations and substantial costs.

 

   

The affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

We have a limited operating history and face significant challenges as a new entrant into our industry.

We began operations in 2015 and have a limited operating history. We have limited history in most aspects of our business operations, including designing, testing, manufacturing, marketing and selling our Smart EVs, as well as offering our services. We started production of our first mass-produced Smart EV, the G3, a compact SUV, in November 2018. We have constructed a manufacturing plant in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province, and the plant is the first manufacturing facility owned by us. We have also constructed a manufacturing plant in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and started manufacturing Smart EVs at this plant in December 2022. We started production of our second mass-produced Smart EV, the P7, a sports sedan, at the Zhaoqing plant in May 2020. We unveiled the P5, our third Smart EV and a family sedan, in April 2021, and started delivery in September 2021. Furthermore, we introduced the G3i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the G3, in July 2021, and started delivery in August 2021. In September 2022, we launched the G9, which is our fourth Smart EV and a flagship SUV, and started mass delivery in October 2022. In March 2023, we introduced the P7i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the P7, and started delivery during the same month.

You should consider our business and prospects in light of the risks and challenges we face as a new entrant into our industry, including, among other things, with respect to our ability to:

 

   

design and produce safe, reliable and quality vehicles on an ongoing basis;

 

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build a well-recognized and respected brand;

 

   

expand our customer base;

 

   

properly price our products and services;

 

   

advance our technological capabilities in key areas, such as ADAS, intelligent operating system, electric powertrain and E/E architecture;

 

   

successfully market our Smart EVs and our services, including our ADAS and various value-added services, such as insurance agency service, automotive loan referral and charging solutions;

 

   

improve operating efficiency and economies of scale;

 

   

operate our manufacturing plant in a safe and cost-efficient manner;

 

   

attract, retain and motivate our employees;

 

   

anticipate and adapt to changing market conditions, including changes in consumer preferences and competitive landscape; and

 

   

navigate a complex and evolving regulatory environment.

If we fail to address any or all of these risks and challenges, our business may be materially and adversely affected. Our Smart EVs are highly technical products that require ongoing maintenance and support. As a result, consumers will be less likely to purchase our Smart EVs if they are not convinced that our business will succeed or that the Group’s operations will continue for many years. Similarly, suppliers and other third parties will be less likely to invest time and resources in developing business relationships with us if they are not convinced that our business will succeed.

As we continue to grow, we may not be able to effectively manage our growth, which could negatively impact our brand and financial performance.

We have experienced significant growth in the past several years. Our revenues increased significantly from RMB5,844.3 million in 2020 to RMB20,988.1 million in 2021, and further to RMB26,855.1 million in 2022, and the number of Smart EVs delivered by us increased from 27,041 units in 2020 to 98,155 units in 2021 and 120,757 units in 2022. We plan to further grow our business by, among other things, investing in technology, expanding our product portfolio, strengthening our brand recognition, expanding our sales and marketing network and service offerings. Our future operating results will depend to a large extent on our ability to manage our expansion and growth successfully.

Risks that we face in undertaking this expansion include, among others:

 

   

managing a larger organization with a greater number of employees in different divisions;

 

   

controlling expenses and investments in anticipation of expanded operations;

 

   

establishing or expanding design, manufacturing, sales and service facilities, as well as charging network;

 

   

implementing and enhancing administrative infrastructure, systems and processes; and

 

   

executing our strategies and business initiatives successfully.

Any failure to manage our growth effectively could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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Our research and development efforts may not yield expected results.

Technological innovation is critical to our success, and we strategically develop most of key technologies in-house, such as ADAS, intelligent operating system, powertrain and E/E architecture. We have been investing heavily on our research and development efforts. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, our research and development expenses amounted to RMB1,725.9 million, RMB4,114.3 million and RMB5,214.8 million, respectively. Our research and development expenses accounted for 29.5%, 19.6% and 19.4% of our total revenues for 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. The EV industry is experiencing rapid technological changes, and we need to invest significant resources in research and development to lead technological advances in order to remain competitive in the market. Therefore, we expect that our research and development expenses will continue to be significant. Furthermore, research and development activities are inherently uncertain, and there can be no assurance that we will continue to achieve technological breakthroughs and successfully commercialize such breakthroughs. As a result, our significant expenditures on research and development may not generate corresponding benefits. If our research and development efforts fail to keep up with the latest technological developments, we would suffer a decline in our competitive position. For example, we believe ADAS is a key factor that differentiates our Smart EVs from competing products, and we have dedicated significant research and development efforts in this area. Any delay or setbacks in our efforts to improve ADAS capabilities could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, results of operations and prospects.

Besides our in-house expertise, we also rely on certain technologies of our suppliers to enhance the performance of our Smart EVs. In particular, we do not manufacture battery cells or semiconductors, which makes us dependent upon suppliers for the relevant technologies. As technologies change, we plan to upgrade our existing models and introduce new models in order to provide Smart EVs with the latest technologies, including battery cells and semiconductors, which could involve substantial costs and lower our return on investment for existing models. In addition, we have commenced delivering our third Smart EV model, the P5, in September 2021, and the new model features LIDAR, which also involved substantial costs. There can be no assurance that we will be able to equip our Smart EVs with the latest technologies. Even if we are able to keep pace with changes in technologies and develop new models, our prior models could become obsolete more quickly than expected, potentially reducing our return on investment.

If our Smart EVs, including software systems, fail to offer a good mobility experience and meet customer expectations, our business, results of operations and reputation would be materially and adversely affected.

We tailor our Smart EVs for China’s middle-class consumers. Our Smart EVs offer smart technology functions, including ADAS and smart connectivity, to make the mobility experience more convenient. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to enhance such smart technology functions and make them more valuable to our target customers. In the design process, we pay close attention to the preferences of our target customers. For example, our proprietary ADAS is also customized for driving behavior and road conditions in China. However, there can be no assurance that we are able to accurately identify consumer preferences and effectively address such preferences in our Smart EVs’ design. Furthermore, the driving experience of a Smart EV is different from that of an ICE vehicle, and our customers may experience difficulties in adapting to the driving experience of a Smart EV. As consumer preferences are continuously evolving, we may fail to introduce desirable product features in a timely manner.

Our Smart EVs may contain defects in design or manufacturing that cause them not to perform as expected or that require repair, and certain features of our Smart EVs may take longer than expected to become enabled. For example, the operation of our Smart EVs is highly dependent on our proprietary software, such as XPILOT, XNGP and Xmart OS, which is inherently complex. These software systems may contain latent defects and errors or be subject to external attacks. Although we attempt to remedy any issues we observe in our Smart EVs as effectively and rapidly as possible, such efforts may not be timely or may not be to the satisfaction of our customers. Furthermore, while we have performed extensive internal testing on the Smart EVs we manufacture, we currently have a limited frame of reference by which to evaluate detailed long-term quality, reliability, durability and performance characteristics of our Smart EVs. We cannot assure you that our Smart EVs are free of defects, which may manifest over time. Product defects, delays or other failures of our products to perform as expected could damage our reputation and result in product recalls, product liability claims and/or significant warranty and other expenses, and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.

 

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We may be subject to risks associated with ADAS technologies.

We continuously upgrade our ADAS technologies through in-house research and development. ADAS technologies are subject to risks and from time to time there have been accidents associated with such technologies. Although we attempt to remedy any issues we observe in our Smart EVs as effectively and rapidly as possible, such efforts may not be timely, may hamper production or may not be to the satisfaction of our customers. Moreover, ADAS technology is still evolving and is yet to achieve wide market acceptance. The safety of ADAS technologies depends in part on driver interaction, and drivers may not be accustomed to using such technologies. To the extent accidents associated with our ADAS systems occur, we could be subject to liability, government scrutiny and further regulation. Furthermore, accidents or defects caused by third parties’ ADAS technology may negatively affect public perception, or result in regulatory restrictions, with respect to ADAS technology.

Our ADAS technologies may be affected by regulatory restrictions. For example, our research and development activities on ADAS are subject to regulatory restrictions on surveying and mapping, as well as driverless road testing. Any tightening of regulatory restrictions could have a material adverse impact on our development of ADAS technology.

Our customers may cancel their orders despite their deposit payment and online confirmation.

Orders and reservations for our Smart EVs are subject to cancelation by the customer prior to the delivery of the Smart EV. Our customers may cancel their orders for many reasons beyond our control, and we have experienced cancelation of orders in the past. In addition, customers may cancel their orders even after they have paid deposits. The potentially long wait from the time a reservation is made until the time the Smart EV is delivered could also impact customer decisions on whether to ultimately make a purchase, due to potential changes in preferences, competitive developments, and other factors. If we encounter delays in the deliveries of our Smart EVs, a significant number of orders may be canceled. As a result, we cannot assure you that orders will not be canceled and will ultimately result in the final purchase, delivery, and sale of the Smart EVs. Such cancelations could harm our business, brand image, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

China’s passenger vehicle market is highly competitive, and demand for EVs may be cyclical and volatile.

China’s passenger vehicle market is large yet competitive, and we have strategically focused on offering Smart EVs for the mid- to high-end segment. We directly compete with other pure-play EV companies, especially those targeting the mid- to high-end segment. To a lesser extent, our Smart EVs also compete with (i) NEVs, which include EVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, and (ii) ICE vehicles in the mid- to high-end segment offered by traditional OEMs. We may also in the future face competition from new entrants that will increase the level of competition. Many of our current and potential competitors, particularly international competitors, have more financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing and other resources than we do, and may be able to devote significant resources to the design, development, manufacturing, distribution, promotion, sale and support of their products.

We expect competition in our industry to intensify in the future in light of increased demand and regulatory push for alternative fuel vehicles, continuing globalization and consolidation in the worldwide automotive industry. Factors affecting competition include, among others, product quality and features, innovation and development time, pricing, reliability, safety, energy efficiency, sales and marketing capabilities, distribution network, customer service and financing terms. Increased competition may lead to lower vehicle unit sales and increased inventory, which may result in downward price pressure and adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects. There can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully. Our competitors may introduce new vehicles or services that surpass the quality or performance of our Smart EVs or services, which would adversely affect our competitive position in the market. They may also offer vehicles or services at more competitive prices, which would have an adverse impact on our sales and profitability. In addition, we may compete with state-owned enterprises or companies that have received investments or other forms of support from state-owned enterprises or other government entities, and such competitors may therefore possess more resources than us.

 

 

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In addition, volatility in the automobile industry may materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition. The sales volume of EVs in the mid- to high-end segment in China may not grow at the rate that we expect, or at all. Demand for EVs depends to a large extent on general, economic, political and social conditions in a given market and the introduction of new vehicles and technologies. As a new entrant to the EV market, we have fewer financial resources than more established OEMs to withstand changes in the market and disruptions in demand. Demand for our Smart EVs may also be affected by factors directly impacting automobile price or the cost of purchasing and operating automobiles, such as sales and financing incentives, prices of raw materials and components, cost of oil and gasoline and governmental regulations, including tariffs, import regulation and sales taxes. Volatility in demand may lead to lower vehicle unit sales and increased inventory, which may result in further downward price pressure and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results. These effects may have a more pronounced impact on our business given our relatively smaller scale and less financial resources as compared to many traditional OEMs.

We have incurred significant losses and negative cash flows from operating activities, all of which may continue in the future.

We have not been profitable since our inception. The design, manufacture, sale and servicing of Smart EVs is a capital-intensive business. We have been incurring losses from operations and had negative cash flows from operating activities since inception. We incurred net losses of RMB2,732.0 million, RMB4,863.1 million and RMB9,139.0 million for 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. Net cash used in operating activities was RMB139.8 million, RMB1,094.6 million and RMB8,232.4 million for 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. We have made significant up-front investments in research and development, our manufacturing facilities in Zhaoqing and Guangzhou, our sales and service network, our charging network, as well as marketing and advertising, to rapidly develop and expand our business. We expect to continue to invest significantly in these areas to further expand our business, and there can be no assurance that we will successfully execute our business strategies. We may not generate sufficient revenues for a number of reasons, including lack of demand for our Smart EVs and services, increasing competition, challenging macro-economic environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption, as well as other risks discussed herein. Our ability to become profitable in the future will not only depend on our efforts to sell our Smart EVs and services but also to control our costs. If we are unable to adequately control the costs associated with the Group’s operations, we may continue to experience losses and negative cash flows from operating activities in the future.

We may need additional capital resources in the future if we experience changes in business condition or other unanticipated developments, or if we wish to pursue opportunities for investments, acquisitions, capital expenditures or similar actions. In addition, we have not recorded net income or positive cash flows from operating activities. As such, we may continue to rely on equity or debt financing to meet our working capital and capital expenditure requirements. If we were unable to obtain such financing in a timely manner or on terms that are acceptable, or at all, we may fail to implement our business plans or experience disruptions in our operating activities, and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.

 

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The continuing shortage in the supply of semiconductors may be disruptive to the Group’s operations and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Since October 2020, the supply of semiconductors used for automotive production has been subject to a global shortage. Although such global semiconductor shortage has not yet had a material negative impact on the Group’s operations, there is no assurance that we will be able to continue to obtain sufficient number of semiconductor-contained components at reasonable cost for the Group’s operations. In addition, we source a majority of semiconductor-contained components used by us from single-source suppliers, such as the components utilizing the semiconductors provided by NVIDIA. Should any single-source suppliers of semiconductor-contained components become unable to meet our demand or become unwilling to do so on terms that are acceptable to us, it may take us significant time, and we may incur significant expenses to find alternative suppliers. If we were required to utilize another supplier for semiconductor-contained components, we would need to qualify and customize the components from alternative suppliers, which could be time consuming and require substantial expenses. If we are unable to find an alternative supplier willing and able to meet our needs on terms acceptable to us on a timely basis or at all, our production and deliveries would be materially disrupted, which may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our business plans require a significant amount of capital. If we fail to obtain required external financing to sustain our business, we may be forced to curtail or discontinue the Group’s operations. In addition, our future capital needs may require us to sell additional equity or debt securities that may dilute our shareholders or introduce covenants that may restrict the Group’s operations or our ability to pay dividends.

Our business and our future plans are capital-intensive. We will need significant capital to, among other things, conduct research and development, ramp up our production capacity and expand our sales and service network. As we ramp up our production capacity and operations, we may also require significant capital to maintain our property, plant and equipment and such costs may be greater than anticipated. We expect that our level of capital expenditures will be significantly affected by user demand for our Smart EVs and services. Given we have a limited operating history, we have limited historical data on the demand for our Smart EVs and services. As a result, our future capital requirements may be uncertain and actual capital requirements may be different from those we currently anticipate. We plan to seek equity or debt financing to finance a portion of our capital needs. Such financing might not be available to us in a timely manner or on terms that are acceptable, or at all. If we fail to obtain required additional financing to sustain our business before we are able to produce levels of revenue to meet our financial needs, we would need to delay, scale back or eliminate our business plan and may be forced to curtail or discontinue the Group’s operations.

Our ability to obtain the necessary financing to carry out our business plan is subject to a number of factors, including general market conditions and investor acceptance of our business plan. These factors may make the timing, amount, terms and conditions of such financing unattractive or unavailable to us. In particular, recent disruptions in the financial markets and volatile economic conditions could affect our ability to raise capital. If we are unable to raise sufficient funds, we will have to significantly reduce our spending or delay or cancel our planned activities. In addition, our future capital needs and other business reasons could require us to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The sale of additional equity or equity-linked securities could dilute our shareholders. We may also raise equity financing through one or more of our operating subsidiaries in the PRC. As a result, our net loss or net income would be partially attributable to the investors of such operating subsidiaries, which would affect net loss or net income attributable to shareholders of XPeng Inc. The issuance of debt securities and incurrence of additional indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations. Holders of any debt securities or preferred shares will have rights, preferences and privileges senior to those of holders of our ordinary shares in the event of liquidation. Any financial or other restrictive covenants from any debt securities would restrict the Group’s operations or our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders.

 

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The unavailability, reduction or elimination of government and economic incentives or government policies that are favorable for new energy vehicles and domestically produced vehicles could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business has benefited from government subsidies, economic incentives and government policies that support the growth of new energy vehicles. For example, each qualified purchaser of our Smart EVs enjoys subsidies from China’s central government and certain local governments. Furthermore, in certain cities, quotas that limit the purchase of ICE vehicles do not apply to EVs, thereby incentivizing customers to purchase EVs. On September 18, 2022, the Ministry of Finance of the PRC, together with several other PRC government departments, issued Announcement on Continuation for the Exemption of Vehicle Purchase Tax for New Energy Vehicles, which extended the previous vehicle purchase tax exemption policy for new energy vehicles to December 31, 2023. China’s central government also provides certain local governments with funds and subsidies to support the roll out of a charging infrastructure. These policies are subject to certain limits as well as changes that are beyond our control, and we cannot assure you that future changes, if any, would be favorable to our business. For instance, in January 2022, the Ministry of Finance of the PRC, together with several other PRC government departments, issued the Notice on the Fiscal Subsidy Policies for the Promotion and Application of New Energy Vehicles for 2022, or the 2022 Subsidy Notice. The 2022 Subsidy Notice provides that the subsidies for new energy vehicle purchases in 2022 will be generally lowered by 30%, and such subsidies will be eliminated at the end of 2022. The reduction and elimination of such subsidies could adversely affect our gross margin. Furthermore, we have received subsidies from certain local governments in relation to our Smart EV manufacturing bases. Any reduction or elimination of government subsidies and economic incentives because of policy changes, fiscal tightening or other factors may result in the diminished competitiveness of the EV industry generally or our Smart EVs in particular. In addition, as we seek to increase our revenues from vehicle sales, we may also experience an increase in accounts receivable relating to government subsidies. Any uncertainty or delay in collection of the government subsidies may also have an adverse impact on our financial condition. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may also face increased competition from foreign OEMs due to changes in government policies. For example, the tariff on imported passenger vehicles (other than those originating in the United States of America) was reduced to 15% starting from July 1, 2018. On June 23, 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, and the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, or the MOFCOM, promulgated the Special Administrative Measures for Market Access of Foreign Investment, or the 2020 Foreign Investment Negative List, effective on July 23, 2020, under which there is no limit on foreign ownership of new energy vehicle manufacturers. Furthermore, according to the latest revised Special Administrative Measures for Market Access of Foreign Investment as promulgated on December 27, 2021, or the 2021 Foreign Investment Negative List, which replaced the 2020 version and took effect from January 1, 2022, there is no foreign investment restrictions on the industry of vehicle manufacturing. As a result, foreign EV competitors could build wholly-owned facilities in China without the need for a domestic joint venture partner. For example, Tesla has constructed the Tesla Giga Shanghai factory in Shanghai without a joint venture partner. These changes could increase our competition and reduce our pricing advantage.

We depend on revenues generated from a limited number of Smart EV models.

Our business initially depended substantially on the sales and success of the G3, a compact SUV, which was our only mass-produced Smart EV in the market prior to May 2020. We started the production of our second mass-produced Smart EV, the P7, in May 2020. Furthermore, we introduced the G3i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the G3, in July 2021, and started delivery in August 2021. We have commenced delivering our third Smart EV model, the P5, a family sedan, in September 2021. In September 2022, we launched the G9, which is our fourth Smart EV and a flagship SUV, and started mass delivery in October 2022. In March 2023, we introduced the P7i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the P7, and started delivery during the same month. Historically, automobile customers have come to expect a variety of vehicle models offered in an OEM’s product portfolio and new and improved vehicle models to be introduced frequently. In order to meet these expectations, we plan to continuously introduce new models to enrich our product portfolio, as well as periodically introducing new versions of existing Smart EV models. To the extent our product variety and cycles do not meet consumer expectations, or cannot be produced on our projected timelines and cost and volume targets, our future sales may be adversely affected. Given that for the foreseeable future our business will depend on a limited number of models, to the extent a particular model is not well-received by the market, our sales volume could be materially and adversely affected. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.

 

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Actual or alleged failure to comply with laws, regulations, rules, policies and other obligations regarding privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security could subject us to significant reputational, financial, legal and operational consequences.

We have adopted strict information security policies, and we use a variety of technologies to protect the data with which we are entrusted. We mainly collect and store data relating to the usage of the ADAS, infotainment system, as well as data collected through our sales and services channels. To the extent we collect customer information, we obtain such data in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We anonymize personal data by removing personally identifiable information, when such information is not relevant to our business. We then analyze such information to improve our technologies, products and services. We use a variety of technologies to protect the data with which we are entrusted.

Nevertheless, collection, use and transmission of customer data may subject us to legislative and regulatory burdens in China and other jurisdictions, which could, among other things, require notification of data breach, restrict our use of such information and hinder our ability to acquire new customers or serve existing customers. If users allege that we have improperly collected, used, transmitted, released or disclosed their personal information, we could face legal claims and reputational damage. We may incur significant expenses to comply with privacy, consumer protection and security standards and protocols imposed by laws, regulations, industry standards or contractual obligations. If third parties improperly obtain and use the personal information of our users, we may be required to expend significant resources to resolve these problems.

We are subject to various laws and regulations on privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security in China and other jurisdictions. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulation Related to Internet Security and Privacy Protection” for further details. The interpretation and application of personal information protection laws and regulations and standards are still uncertain and evolving. We cannot assure you that relevant governmental authorities will not interpret or implement the laws or regulations in ways that negatively affect us. We may also become subject to additional or new laws and regulations regarding the protection of cybersecurity and information security, personal information or privacy-related matters in connection with our methods for data collection, analysis, storage and use.

As of the date of this annual report, we have not been informed by any PRC governmental authority of any requirement that we shall apply for approval or filings for our initial public offering in the U.S. in August 2020, our follow-on public offering completed in December 2020 or our listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the associated public offering in July 2021. However, we are not certain whether the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures or any relevant future laws, rules or regulations will apply to our company and follow-on offerings of foreign listed companies, or whether the scope of financing activities that are subject to the cybersecurity review may change in the future. We believe that the Group has complied with the applicable regulations and policies that have been issued by the Cybersecurity Administration of China, or CAC, to date in all material respects. As of the date of this annual report, the Group has not been involved in any cybersecurity review initiated by the CAC, and the Group has not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanction in such respect.

 

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Given that the relevant laws, regulations and policies were recently promulgated or issued, their interpretation, application and enforcement are subject to uncertainties. We have incurred, and will continue to incur, significant expenses in an effort to comply with privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security related laws, regulations, standards and protocols, especially as a result of such newly promulgated laws and regulations. Despite our efforts to comply with applicable laws, regulations and policies relating to privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security, we cannot assure you that our practices, offerings, services or platform will meet all of the requirements imposed on us by such laws, regulations or policies. Any failure or perceived failure to comply with applicable laws, regulations or policies may result in inquiries or other proceedings being instituted against, or other lawsuits, decisions or sanctions being imposed on us by governmental authorities, users, consumers or other parties, including but not limited to warnings, fines, directions for rectifications, suspension of the related business and termination of our applications, as well as in negative publicity on us and damage to our reputation, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. The above mentioned newly promulgated laws, regulations and policies or relevant drafts may result in the publication of new laws, regulations and policies to which we or our vehicles may be subject, though the timing, scope and applicability of such laws or regulations are currently unclear. Any such laws, regulations or policies could negatively impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. We may be notified for cybersecurity review by the CAC if we were regarded as a critical information infrastructure operator, or if our data processing activities and overseas listing or follow-on financing activities were regarded as having impact or potential impact to national security, and be required to make significant changes to our business practices, or even be prohibited from providing certain service offerings in jurisdictions in which we currently operate or in which we may operate in the future. Such review could also result in negative publicity with respect to us and diversion of our managerial and financial resource. There can be no assurance that we would be able to complete the applicable cybersecurity review procedures in a timely manner, or at all, if we are required to follow such procedures.

Any misuse of smart technology, such as facial recognition technology, may have a material adverse effect on our reputation and results of operations. We historically engaged a third-party service provider to analyze the background of visitors of certain of our stores in Shanghai through facial recognition technology. Due to the lack of visitor consent and other requisite procedures, such practice was found to be in violation of the PRC Customer Rights Protection Law by the local administration for market regulation, and we were subject to an immaterial amount of fine. We have terminated our collaboration with the third-party service provider, and the relevant visitor data has been deleted. While we have enhanced our compliance measures since this incident, we cannot assure you that we will always be deemed to be in compliance with data privacy laws and regulations by the relevant authorities.

In addition, we began shipping Smart EVs to Europe in September 2020 and must therefore comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 that became applicable on May 25, 2018, or the GDPR. The GDPR places stringent obligations and operational requirements on processors and controllers of personal data, including requiring expanded disclosures to data subjects about how their personal data is to be used, limitations on retention of information, mandatory data breach notification requirements, and higher standards for data controllers to demonstrate that they have obtained either valid consent or have another legal basis in place to justify their data processing activities. If we were found to be in violation of customers’ rights to data privacy, we could face administrative investigation, disciplinary actions, civil claims and reputational damage. We may incur significant expenses to comply with laws and regulations relating to data privacy, data security and consumer protection, as well as relevant industry standards and contractual obligations. If third parties improperly obtain and use the personal information of our customers, we may be required to expend significant resources to resolve such problems.

In addition to the regulatory requirements, consumer attitudes towards data privacy are also evolving, and consumer concerns about the extent to which their data is collected by us may adversely affect our ability to gain access to data and improve our technologies, products and services. Furthermore, the integrity of our data protection measures could be compromised by system failures, security breaches or cyber-attacks. If we are unable to comply with the applicable laws and regulations or effectively address data privacy and protection concerns, such actual or alleged failure could damage our reputation, discourage consumers from purchasing our Smart EVs and subject us to significant legal liabilities.

 

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Our business and prospects depend significantly on our ability to build our XPENG brand. We may not succeed in continuing to maintain and strengthen the XPENG brand, and our brand and reputation could be harmed by negative publicity regarding our company, products or services.

Our business and prospects are heavily dependent on our ability to develop, maintain and strengthen the “XPENG” brand. If we do not continue to develop, maintain and strengthen our brand, we may lose the opportunity to build a critical mass of customers. Promoting and positioning our brand will likely depend significantly on our ability to provide high quality Smart EVs and services, and we have limited experience in these areas. In addition, we expect that our ability to develop, maintain and strengthen the XPENG brand will depend heavily on the success of our sales and marketing efforts. For example, we seek to enhance our brand recognition by locating a substantial majority of our stores, including direct stores and franchised stores, in shopping malls. We also advertise our Smart EVs through various online channels, including several social media platforms and e-commerce platforms. While we seek to optimize resource allocation through careful selection of sales and marketing channels, such efforts may not achieve the desired results. To promote our brand, we may be required to change our branding practices, which could result in substantially increased expenses, including the need to utilize traditional media and offline advertising. If we do not develop and maintain a strong brand, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results will be materially and adversely impacted.

If incidents, such as self-ignition and products recall, occur or are perceived to have occurred, whether or not such incidents are our fault, we could be subject to adverse publicity. See “—We may choose to or be compelled to undertake product recalls or take other similar actions, which could adversely affect our brand image, business and results of operations.” Given the popularity of social media in China, any negative publicity, whether true or not, could quickly proliferate and harm consumer perceptions and confidence in our brand. In addition, from time to time, our Smart EVs are evaluated and reviewed by third parties. Any negative reviews or reviews which compare us unfavorably to competitors could adversely affect consumer perception about our Smart EVs.

Any problems or delays in maintaining operations and expanding capacity of the Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant or the establishment of the new manufacturing bases in Wuhan could negatively affect the production of our Smart EVs.

To exercise direct control over product quality and gain more flexibility in adjusting our manufacturing process and production capacity, we built our own plants in Zhaoqing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province. We manufacture the G3i, the new mid-cycle facelift version of the G3, the P7, the P7i, the mid-cycle facelift version of the P7, the P5 and the G9 at the plants in Zhaoqing and Guangzhou. Our future operation and prospects depend on our ability to successfully maintain the operation, and expand the capacity, of the Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant. In addition, we need to effectively control cost of production at the Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant. We have limited experience in the production of Smart EVs. Given the size and complexity of this undertaking, it is possible that we may experience issues, delays or cost overruns in further expanding the production output at the Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant.

In September 2020, we entered into a cooperation agreement with Guangzhou GET Investment Holdings Co., Ltd., or Guangzhou GET Investment, a wholly owned investment company of Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, which is a local government authority in Guangzhou. The construction of the Guangzhou plant was completed in June 2022 and it houses a broad range of functions, including research and development, manufacturing, vehicle testing and sales. We started manufacturing Smart EVs at the Guangzhou plant in December 2022.

In April 2021, we entered into an investment agreement with Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone Management Committee, or Wuhan ETDZ Committee, a local government authority in Wuhan. Pursuant to the investment agreement, Wuhan ETDZ Committee agrees to support our construction of a new manufacturing base and research and development center in the Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone, or the Wuhan Base.

The establishment of the new manufacturing bases in Wuhan is subject to a number of uncertainties. The commencement of its operation may be affected by, among other things, availability of funding, progress of the construction and the installation of production equipment, grant of applicable regulatory approvals, as well as the hiring and retention of qualified employees. Any policy change affecting investments in manufacturing facilities in general may also have an impact on the establishment of our new manufacturing base. There can be no assurance that the new manufacturing base will be able to commence operation in accordance with our plan. In addition, we may not be able to successfully ramp and maintain its operation. We must also maintain good working relationships with Wuhan ETDZ Committee throughout the term of our cooperation. In addition, upon the commencement of operations of the new manufacturing base in Wuhan, our depreciation expenses will increase, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

 

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If we experience any issues or delays in meeting our projected timelines, maintaining sufficient funding and capital efficiency, increasing production capacity or generating sufficient demand for production in our Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant or the new manufacturing base in Wuhan, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition could be adversely impacted.

We are dependent on our suppliers, some of which are single-source suppliers. Suppliers may fail to deliver necessary components of our Smart EVs according to our schedule and at prices, quality levels and volumes acceptable to us.

We procure components from both domestic suppliers and global suppliers, some of which are currently our single-source suppliers for certain components. We attempt to mitigate our supply chain risk by qualifying and obtaining components from multiple sources where practicable and maintaining safety stock for certain key components and components with lengthy procurement lead times. However, we may still experience component shortages for our production or the components may not meet our specifications or quality needs. For example, some of our suppliers were unable to deliver sufficient components to us due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See “—The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our results of operations.” Furthermore, qualifying alternative suppliers or developing our own replacements for certain highly customized components of our Smart EVs may be time consuming and costly. Any disruption in the supply of components, whether or not from a single-source supplier, could temporarily disrupt production of our Smart EVs until an alternative supplier is fully qualified by us or we are able to procure the relevant components in sufficient quantities from other existing suppliers. Any failure to timely find alternative component sources may materially delay delivery of our Smart EVs, which may materially and adversely impact our business and results of operations. We do not manufacture certain key hardware components for our ADAS, such as semiconductors, millimeter-wave radars, ultrasonic sensors and cameras, and we import certain of such components from foreign countries. The loss of any supplier for any reason, including any export control measures adopted by any foreign country to limit the import of supplies into China, could lead to vehicle design changes, production delays and potential loss of access to important technologies, any of which could result in quality issues, delays and disruptions in deliveries, negative publicity and damage to our brand. In particular, we source a majority of semiconductor-contained components from single-source suppliers. If any of such suppliers fails to meet our demand, it may take us significant time, and we may incur significant expenses to find alternative suppliers and quantify their components. See “—The continuing shortage in the supply of semiconductors may be disruptive to the Group’s operations and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.” for details. In addition, our suppliers may fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or they may be involved in product liability claims or incidents of negative publicity. If any of these incidents occur, customers may also lose confidence in our Smart EVs that incorporate components from the relevant suppliers, and our reputation, business and results of operations could be adversely affected. Developments that we cannot presently anticipate, such as changes in business conditions or government policies, natural disasters or epidemics, could also affect our suppliers’ ability to deliver components to us in a timely manner.

Any significant increases in our production, such as the launch of a new model, has required and may in the future require us to procure additional components in a short amount of time. Our suppliers may not ultimately be able to sustainably and timely meet our cost, quality and volume needs, requiring us to replace them with other sources. While we believe that we will be able to secure additional or alternative sources of supply for most of our components in a relatively short time frame, there is no assurance that we will be able to do so or develop our own replacements for certain highly customized components. Additionally, we continuously negotiate with existing suppliers to obtain cost reductions and avoid unfavorable changes to terms, seek new and less expensive suppliers for certain parts, and attempt to redesign certain parts to make them less expensive to produce. If we are unsuccessful in our efforts to control and reduce supplier costs, our operating results will suffer.

 

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Furthermore, as the scale of our Smart EV production increases, we will need to accurately forecast, purchase, warehouse and transport components to the relevant manufacturing facilities and service stores and at much higher volumes. If we are unable to accurately match the timing and quantities of component purchases to our actual needs or successfully implement automation, inventory management and other systems to accommodate the increased complexity in our supply chain, we may incur unexpected production disruption, as well as storage, transportation and write-off costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and operating results.

Increases in costs, disruption of supply or shortage of components and materials could have a material adverse impact on our business.

We incur significant costs related to procuring components and raw materials required to manufacture our Smart EVs. We may experience cost increases, supply interruption and/or shortages relating to components and raw materials, which could materially and adversely impact our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results. We use various components and raw materials in our business, such as steel, aluminum, as well as lithium battery cells, millimeter-wave radar, or mmWave radar, and semiconductors. The prices for these components and materials fluctuate, and their available supply may be unstable, depending on market conditions and global demand for these materials, including as a result of increased production of EVs by our competitors, and could adversely affect our business and operating results. In addition, as we continue to increase our production, we may experience shortage of certain components and materials or other bottlenecks in our supply chain.

For instance, we are exposed to multiple risks relating to lithium battery cells. These risks include:

 

   

an increase in the cost, or decrease in the available supply, of materials used in the battery cells, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, which would in turn result in an increase in the cost of lithium battery cells;

 

   

disruption in the supply of battery cells due to quality issues or recalls by battery cell manufacturers; and

 

   

the inability or unwillingness of our current battery cell manufacturers to build or operate battery cell manufacturing plants to supply the numbers of lithium cells required to support the growth of the EV industry as demand for such battery cells increases.

Our business is dependent on the continued supply of battery cells for the battery packs used in our Smart EVs. While we believe several sources of the battery cells are available for such battery packs, we have to date fully qualified only a very limited number of suppliers for the battery cells used in such battery packs and have very limited flexibility in changing battery cell suppliers. Any disruption in the supply of battery cells from such suppliers could disrupt production of our Smart EVs until such time as a different supplier is fully qualified. There can be no assurance that we would be able to successfully retain alternative suppliers on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all.

We have experienced supply shortages in mmWave radar, which has affected deliveries of the P5. In response to the supply shortages, we offered customers with the option to receive the P5 without mmWave radar first. Customers who accepted such option were offered with our ADAS software for free. Alternatively, customers can also wait for deliveries of the P5 with mmWave radar installed. If the supply shortages in mmWave radar persist, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Furthermore, tariffs or shortages in petroleum and other economic conditions may result in significant increases in freight charges and material costs. In addition, a growth in popularity of EVs without a significant expansion in battery cell production capacity could result in shortages which would result in increased materials costs to us or impact our prospects. Substantial increases in the prices for our raw materials or components would increase our operating costs, and could reduce our margins if we cannot recoup the increased costs through increased vehicle prices. Any attempts to increase product prices in response to increased material costs could result in decrease in sales and therefore materially and adversely affect our brand, image, business, prospects and operating results.

Any delays in the manufacturing and launch of the commercial production vehicles in our pipeline could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We started the production of our first mass-produced Smart EV, the G3, in November 2018 and our second mass-produced Smart EV, the P7, in May 2020. We unveiled our third Smart EV, the P5, in April 2021, and started delivery in September 2021. Furthermore, we introduced the G3i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the G3, in July 2021, and started delivery in August 2021. In September 2022, we launched the G9, which is our fourth Smart EV and a flagship SUV, and started mass delivery in October 2022. In March 2023, we introduced the P7i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the P7, and started delivery during the same month. We plan to continuously introduce new models and facelifts to enrich our product portfolio and offer customers more selections. OEMs often experience delays in the design, manufacture and commercial release of new Smart EV models. Delays in the launch of new models and new versions may occur for a variety of reasons, such as changes in market conditions, technological challenges, lack of necessary funding, as well as disruptions in our supply chain or manufacturing facilities. To the extent we need to delay the launch of our Smart EVs, our growth prospects could be adversely affected as we may fail to grow our market share. We also plan to periodically perform facelifts or refresh existing models, which could also be subject to delays.

Furthermore, we rely on third-party suppliers for the provision and development of many of the key components used in our Smart EVs. To the extent our suppliers experience any delays in providing us with or developing necessary components or experience quality issues, we could experience delays in delivering on our timelines. Any delay in the manufacture of our existing Smart EV models or the manufacture and launch of our future models, including in the ramp up of our Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant or due to any other factors, or in performing facelifts to existing models, could lead to customer dissatisfaction and materially and adversely affect our reputation, demand for our Smart EVs, results of operations and growth prospects.

We may choose to or be compelled to undertake product recalls or take other similar actions, which could adversely affect our brand image, business and results of operations.

If our Smart EVs are subject to recalls in the future, we may be subject to adverse publicity, damage to our brand and liability for costs. Effective on January 30, 2021, we voluntarily recalled certain of the G3s that were produced in the period between March 29, 2019 and September 27, 2020, which totaled 13,399 units. Due to a possible power supply fault of the inverters installed on these G3s, the vehicles may not start when parked or lose power when driven. In connection with the recall, we undertake to replace the inverters of these G3s free of charge. As the relevant components’ supplier is responsible for the costs of replacing inverters, our costs and expenses for the recall are minimal. As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any material product liability claims in relation to these recalled G3s.

In the future, we may at various times, voluntarily or involuntarily, initiate a recall if any of our Smart EVs, including any systems or parts sourced from our suppliers, prove to be defective or noncompliant with applicable laws and regulations. Such recalls, whether voluntary or involuntary or caused by systems or components engineered or manufactured by us or our suppliers, could involve significant expense and could adversely affect our brand image, business and results of operations.

 

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We may not be able to expand our physical sales network cost-efficiently, and our franchise model is subject to a number of risks.

As of December 31, 2022, our physical sales network consisted of 420 stores, covering 143 cities in China. We plan to expand our physical sales network through direct stores and franchised stores. This planned expansion may not have the desired effect of increasing sales and enhancing our brand recognition in a cost-efficient manner. We may need to invest significant capital and management resources to operate existing direct stores and open new ones, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to improve the operational efficiency of our direct stores.

While our franchise model enables us to pursue an asset-light expansion strategy, such model is also subject to a number of risks. We may not be able to identify, attract and retain a sufficient number of franchisees with the requisite experience and resources to operate franchised stores. Our franchisees are responsible for the day-to-day operation of their stores. Although we offer the same trainings and implement the same service standards for staff from both direct stores and franchised stores, we have limited control over how our franchisees’ businesses are run. If our franchisees fail to deliver high quality customer service and resolve customer complaints in a timely manner, or if any of their misconduct leads to damages to our brand image and reputation, our business could be adversely affected. In addition, our agreements with certain of our franchisees are non-exclusive. While they are required to only sell our Smart EVs in the XPENG-branded franchised stores, they may operate other stores that sell vehicles of multiple other brands. These franchisees may dedicate more resources to the stores outside of our sales network and may not be able to successfully implement our sales and marketing initiatives. Furthermore, our franchisees may engage aggressive competition against each other, resulting in cannibalization among such franchisees. Any such behavior may harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation.

If we are unable to provide quality services, our business and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.

We aim to provide consumers with a good customer service experience, including providing our customers with access to a comprehensive suite of charging solutions, after-sales services and value-added services, as well as software sale. Our services may fail to meet our customers’ expectations, which could adversely affect our business, reputation and results of operations.

Offline after-sale services are primarily carried out by franchised service stores. We and our franchisees have limited experience in servicing our Smart EVs. Servicing EV is different from servicing ICE vehicles and requires specialized skills, including high voltage training and servicing techniques. There can be no assurance that our after-sale service arrangements will adequately address the service requirements of our customers to their satisfaction, or that we and our franchisees will have sufficient resources to meet these service requirements in a timely manner as the volume of Smart EVs we deliver increases. Moreover, we provide value-added services, including insurance technology support, automotive loan referral, auto financing and ride-hailing, and we may expand our value-added services in the future. However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully monetize our value-added services. In addition, we are subject to certain risks relating to our ride hailing service. For example, the drivers may be involved in accidents or misconducts, which could result in personal injuries, property damage or other harms for passengers and third parties, as well as reputational damage and significant liabilities for us.

In addition, we seek to engage with our customers on an ongoing basis using online and offline channels. If we are unable to roll out and establish a broad service network covering both online and offline channels, consumer experience could be adversely affected, which in turn could materially and adversely affect our sales, results of operations and prospects.

 

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We may face challenges in providing charging solutions.

We have marketed our ability to provide our customers a convenient charging experience. We offer installation of home chargers for our customers. Customers may also charge through XPENG self-operated charging station network or at third-party charging stations. We plan to expand our charging network primarily by partnering with third parties. There can be no assurance that our partners will continue to expand their charging facilities, or that such partners will continue their cooperation on terms acceptable to us, or at all. As a result, we may need to invest significant capital to establish and operate more XPENG self-operated charging stations and/or engage additional franchisees to operate such stations. In addition, the installation of home chargers is handled by third-party service providers, and their service may not meet our customers’ expectations. To the extent we or the relevant third parties are unable to meet customer expectations or experience difficulties in providing charging solutions, our reputation and business may be materially and adversely affected.

The range of our Smart EVs on a single charge declines over time which may negatively influence potential customers’ decisions whether to purchase our Smart EVs.

The range of our Smart EVs on a single charge declines principally as a function of usage, time and charging patterns as well as other factors. For example, a customer’s use of his or her Smart EV as well as the frequency with which the battery is charged can result in additional deterioration of the battery’s ability to hold a charge. Battery deterioration and the related decrease in range may negatively influence potential customer decisions whether to purchase our Smart EVs, which may adversely affect our ability to market and sell our Smart EVs. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to improve cycle performance of our battery packs in the future.

Our industry is rapidly evolving and may be subject to unforeseen changes. Developments in alternative technologies or improvements in the ICE may materially and adversely affect the demand for our Smart EVs.

We operate in China’s EV market, which is rapidly evolving and may not develop as we anticipate. The regulatory framework governing the industry is currently uncertain and may remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. As our industry and our business develop, we may need to modify our business model or change our products and services. These changes may not achieve expected results, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and prospects.

Developments in alternative technologies, such as advanced diesel, ethanol, fuel cells or compressed natural gas, or improvements in the fuel economy of the internal combustion engine, may materially and adversely affect our business and prospects in ways we do not currently anticipate. In addition, a sustained depression of petroleum price could make the ownership of ICE vehicles more attractive to consumers. Any failure by us to successfully react to changes in alternative technologies and market conditions could materially harm our competitive position and growth prospects.

Our future growth is dependent upon consumers’ willingness to adopt EVs and specifically our Smart EVs.

The demand for our Smart EVs and services will highly depend upon the adoption by consumers of NEVs in general and EVs in particular. The market for NEVs is still rapidly evolving, characterized by rapidly changing technologies, prices and the competitive landscape, evolving government regulation and industry standards and changing consumer demands and behaviors.

Other factors that may influence the adoption of NEVs, and specifically EVs, include:

 

   

perceptions about EV quality, safety, design, performance and cost, especially if adverse events or accidents occur that are linked to the quality or safety of EVs, whether or not such vehicles are produced by us or other OEMs;

 

   

perceptions about vehicle safety in general, in particular safety issues that may be attributed to the use of advanced technologies, such as ADAS and lithium battery cells;

 

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the limited range over which EVs may be driven on a single battery charge and the speed at which batteries can be charged;

 

   

the decline of an EV’s range resulting from deterioration over time in the battery’s ability to hold a charge;

 

   

the availability of other types of NEVs, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles;

 

   

improvements in the fuel economy of the internal combustion engine;

 

   

the availability of after-sales service for EVs;

 

   

the environmental consciousness of consumers;

 

   

access to charging stations, standardization of EV charging systems and consumers’ perceptions about convenience and cost for charging an EV;

 

   

the availability of tax and other governmental incentives to purchase and operate EVs or future regulation requiring increased use of nonpolluting vehicles;

 

   

perceptions about and the actual cost of alternative fuel; and

 

   

macroeconomic factors.

Any of the factors described above may cause current or potential customers not to purchase our Smart EVs and use our services. If the market for EVs does not develop as we expect or develops more slowly than we expect, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results will be affected.

Our financial results may vary significantly from period to period due to the seasonality of our business and fluctuations in our operating costs.

Our operating results may vary significantly from period to period due to many factors, including seasonal factors that may have an effect on the demand for our Smart EVs. Demand for new cars typically decline over the winter season and during the Chinese New Year holiday, while sales are generally higher in September and October. Our limited operating history makes it difficult for us to judge the exact nature or extent of the seasonality of our business. We may record significant increase in revenues when we commence mass delivery of a new product to fulfill customer orders accumulated in prior periods, but we may not be able to maintain our revenues at similar levels in subsequent periods. Also, any health pandemic or epidemics such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters such as unusually severe weather conditions in some markets may impact demand for, and our ability to manufacture and deliver, our Smart EVs. Our operating results could also suffer if we do not achieve revenues consistent with our expectations for this seasonal demand because many of our expenses are based on anticipated levels of annual revenues.

We also expect our period-to-period operating results to vary based on our operating costs, which we anticipate will increase significantly in future periods as we, among other things, design and develop new models, develop new technological capabilities, ramp up our manufacturing facilities and expand our physical sales network, as well as expanding our general and administrative functions to support our growing operations. We may incur substantial research and development and/or selling expenses when we develop and/or promote a new product in a given period without generating any revenue from such product until we start delivery of such products to customers in future periods. As a result of these factors, we believe that period-to-period comparisons of our operating results are not necessarily meaningful and that these comparisons may not be indicative of future performance. Moreover, our operating results may not meet expectations of equity research analysts or investors. If this occurs, the trading price of our ADSs and/or Class A ordinary shares could fall substantially either suddenly or over time.

 

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If we fail to effectively manage the risks related to our auto financing program, our business may be adversely affected.

We cooperate with banks and connect them with customers who seek automotive financing solutions. We believe the availability of financing options is important to our customers. If affordable automotive financing solutions are not available for our customers, we may not be able to grow our sales. To complement the banks’ services, we also offer auto financing to our customers through a wholly-owned subsidiary. Such auto financing program is treated as an installment payment program for accounting purposes and the Group records the relevant installment payment receivables on its balance sheets. As of December 31, 2022, the Group had installment payment receivables of RMB3,483.3 million. As we continue to grow our business, we may increase the amount of auto financing we offer. We may not be able to obtain adequate funding for our auto financing program. We may also fail to effectively manage the credit risks related to our auto financing program, which would materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, the amount of write-down of installment payment receivables was RMB3.5 million, RMB50.0 million and RMB44.0 million, respectively. In addition, if we do not successfully monitor and comply with applicable national and/or local financial regulations and consumer protection laws governing auto financing transactions, we may become subject to enforcement actions or penalties, which would adversely affect our business.

Any cyber-attacks, unauthorized access or control of our Smart EVs’ systems could result in loss of confidence in us and our Smart EVs and harm our business.

Our Smart EVs contain complex information technology systems to support smart technology functions and to accept and install periodic OTA firmware updates. We have designed, implemented and tested security measures intended to prevent unauthorized access to our information technology networks and our Smart EVs’ technology systems. However, hackers may attempt to gain unauthorized access to modify, alter and use such networks and systems. We encourage reporting of potential vulnerabilities in the security of our Smart EVs, and we aim to remedy any reported and verified vulnerability. However, there can be no assurance that vulnerabilities will not be exploited in the future before they can be identified, or that our remediation efforts are or will be successful. Any cyber-attacks, unauthorized access, disruption, damage or control of our information technology networks or our Smart EVs’ systems or any loss or leakage of data or information stored in our systems could result in legal claims or proceedings. In addition, regardless of their veracity, reports of cyber-attacks to our information technology networks or our Smart EVs’ systems or data, as well as other factors that may result in the perception that our information technology networks or our Smart EVs’ systems or data are vulnerable to “hacking,” could negatively affect our brand and harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation.

Interruption or failure of our information technology and communications systems could impact our ability to effectively provide our services.

We enable our customers to access a variety of features and services through our mobile apps. In addition, certain of Smart EVs’ features depend to a certain extent on connectivity to our information technology systems. As such, the availability and effectiveness of our services depend on the continued operation of our information technology and communications systems. Our systems are vulnerable to damage or interruption from, among others, fire, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, power loss, telecommunications failures, computer viruses or other attempts to harm our systems. Our data centers are also subject to break-ins, sabotage, and intentional acts of vandalism, and to potential disruptions. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. Any problems at our data centers could result in lengthy interruptions in our service. In addition, our products and services are highly technical and complex and may contain errors or vulnerabilities, which could result in interruptions in our services or the failure of our systems.

We are subject to anti-corruption and anti-bribery and similar laws, and non-compliance with such laws can subject us to administrative, civil and criminal fines and penalties, collateral consequences, remedial measures and legal expenses, all of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and reputation.

 

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We are subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery and similar laws and regulations in various jurisdictions in which we conduct activities. We have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies and state-owned affiliated entities in the ordinary course of business. These interactions subject us to an increased level of compliance-related concerns. We have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance by us and our directors, officers, employees, representatives, consultants, agents and business partners with applicable anti-corruption and anti-bribery and similar laws and regulations. However, our policies and procedures may not be sufficient and our directors, officers, employees, representatives, consultants, agents, and business partners could engage in improper conduct for which we may be held responsible.

Non-compliance with anti-corruption or anti-bribery laws and regulations could subject us to whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, and severe administrative, civil and criminal sanctions, collateral consequences, remedial measures and legal expenses, all of which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and reputation.

Our business depends substantially on the continuing efforts of our executive officers, key employees and qualified personnel, and the Group’s operations may be severely disrupted if we lose their services.

Our success depends substantially on the continued efforts of our executive officers and key employees. If one or more of our executive officers or key employees were unable or unwilling to continue their services with us, we might not be able to replace them easily, in a timely manner, or at all. As we build our brand and become more well-known, the risk that competitors or other companies may poach our talent increases. Our industry is characterized by high demand and intense competition for talent, in particular with respect to qualified talents in the areas of Smart EVs and ADAS technologies, and therefore we cannot assure you that we will be able to attract or retain qualified staff or other highly skilled employees. In addition, because our Smart EVs are based on a different technology platform than traditional ICE vehicles, individuals with sufficient training in Smart EVs may not be available to hire, and we will need to expend significant time and expense training the employees we hire. We also require sufficient talent in areas such as software development. Furthermore, as our company is relatively young, our ability to train and integrate new employees into our operations may not meet the growing demands of our business, which may materially and adversely affect our ability to grow our business and our results of operations.

If any of our executive officers and key employees terminates his or her services with us, our business may be severely disrupted, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected and we may incur additional expenses to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel. We have not obtained any “key person” insurance on our key personnel. If any of our executive officers or key employees joins a competitor or forms a competing company, we may lose customers, know-how and key professionals and staff members. Each of our executive officers and key employees has entered into an employment agreement and a non-compete agreement with us. However, if any dispute arises between our executive officers or key employees and us, the non-competition provisions contained in their non-compete agreements may not be enforceable, especially in China, where these executive officers reside, on the ground that we have not provided adequate compensation to them for their non-competition obligations, which is required under relevant PRC laws.

Misconduct by our employees during and before their employment with us could expose us to potentially significant legal liabilities, reputational harm and/or other damages to our business.

Many of our employees play critical roles in ensuring the safety and reliability of our products and services and/or our compliance with relevant laws and regulations in the areas including, but not limited to, trade secrets, privacy, data protection, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering. Certain of our employees have access to sensitive information and/or proprietary technologies and know-how. While we have adopted codes of conduct for all of our employees and implemented detailed policies and procedures relating to intellectual property, proprietary information and trade secrets, we cannot assure you that our employees will always abide by these codes, policies and procedures nor that the precautions we take to detect and prevent employee misconduct will always be effective. If any of our employees engage in any misconduct, illegal or suspicious activities, including but not limited to, misappropriation or leakage of sensitive client information or proprietary information, we and such employees could be subject to legal claims and liabilities and our reputation and business could be adversely affected as a result.

 

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Sales staff at our stores, including both our employees and franchisees’ employees, may fail to strictly adhere to our pricing and sales policies. Such non-compliance of internal policies may result in confusion and dissatisfaction among our customers. As a result, we have been subject to, and may continue to be subject to, customer complaints, negative publicity and government investigation. Any adverse finding in government investigation may lead to fines, forfeitures of government subsidies or other penalties, which could have a material and adverse impact on our reputation, business and results of operation.

In addition, while we have screening procedures during the recruitment process, we cannot assure you that we will be able to uncover misconduct of job applicants that occurred before we offered them employment, or that we will not be affected by legal proceedings against our existing or former employees as a result of their actual or alleged misconduct. For example, one former employee of ours was arrested and then charged in July 2018 with stealing trade secrets from his previous employer, Apple. Although the alleged theft occurred before he was employed by us, we were subpoenaed by the grand jury to produce certain documents. On August 22, 2022, the former employee pleaded guilty to the charge of theft of trade secrets and entered into a plead agreement.

Another former employee of ours was sued by Tesla in March 2019 for misappropriation of trade secrets while he was employed by Tesla. We cooperated with Tesla and provided various documents and information relating to the employee to Tesla upon their request. After over two years of litigation and extensive discovery effort, a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was filed by this former employee and Tesla on April 15, 2021, and it is disclosed that the parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement to resolve all claims asserted in the action.

While we have put in place various safeguards to address the risk of unauthorized third-party information being introduced into our systems or used in our operations, and based on internal investigation, we are confident that neither of these two former employees introduced or used any external confidential information in our systems or business operations, we had to spend significant amount of time and efforts to handle these matters and answer related inquiries. Moreover, we could be involved in other proceedings, or be forced to defend against allegations that may arise in the future, even when such allegations are not justified. Any negative publicity surrounding these cases, especially in the event that any of such employees or former employees is found to have committed any wrongdoing, could negatively affect our reputation and may have an adverse impact on our business.

We may become subject to product liability claims, which could harm our financial condition and liquidity if we are not able to successfully defend against such claims.

If we become liable for product liability claims, our business, operating results and financial condition may be harmed. The automotive industry experiences significant product liability claims and we face inherent risk of exposure to claims in the event our Smart EVs do not meet applicable standards or requirements, resulting in property damage, personal injury or death. Our risks in this area are particularly pronounced given we have limited experience of offering Smart EVs. Although we implement full-cycle quality control, covering design, procurement, production, sales and after-sales services, we cannot assure you that our quality control measures will be as effective as we expect. Any failure in any of our quality control steps would cause a defect in our Smart EVs, and in turn, could harm our customers. A successful product liability claim against us could require us to pay a substantial monetary award. Moreover, a product liability claim could generate substantial negative publicity about our Smart EVs and business and inhibit or prevent commercialization of our future Smart EVs, which would have a material adverse effect on our brand, business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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In China, vehicles must meet or exceed all mandated safety standards. Rigorous testing and the use of approved materials and equipment are among the requirements for achieving such standards. Vehicles must pass various tests and undergo a certification process and be affixed with China Compulsory Certification, or CCC, before receiving delivery from the factory, being sold, or being used in any commercial activity, and such certification is also subject to periodic renewal. Although our P7, G3i, P5 and G9 have received CCC certifications, we cannot assure you that each of our future Smart EV models will be able to receive such certifications. Furthermore, the government carries out the supervision and inspection of certified vehicles on a regular basis. In the event that our certification fails to be renewed upon expiry, a certified vehicle has a defect resulting in quality or safety accidents, or consistent failure of certified vehicles to comply with certification requirements is discovered during follow-up inspections, the CCC may be suspended or even revoked. With effect from the date of revocation or during suspension of the CCC, any vehicle that fails to satisfy the requirements for certification may not continue to be delivered, sold or used in any commercial activity. Failure of any of our Smart EV models to satisfy motor vehicle standards would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Our Smart EVs make use of lithium cells, and lithium cells may catch fire or vent smoke and flame on rare occasions.

Our Smart EVs’ battery packs make use of lithium cells. On rare occasions, lithium cells can rapidly release the energy they contain by venting smoke and flames in a manner that can ignite nearby materials as well as other lithium cells. While our batteries are built with robust safety features and strong thermal management capabilities, there can be no assurance that our batteries will always function safely. If any safety accident occurs to any of our Smart EVs’ battery pack, we could be subject to lawsuits, product recalls or redesign efforts, all of which would be time consuming and expensive. Also, negative public perceptions regarding the suitability of lithium cells for automotive applications or any future incident involving lithium cells, such as a vehicle fire, even if such incident does not involve our Smart EVs, could seriously harm customers’ confidence in our Smart EVs.

Furthermore, we may store high volumes of lithium cells and battery modules and packs at our facilities. Any mishandling of battery cells may cause disruption to the operation of such facilities. While we have implemented safety procedures related to the handling of the cells, there can be no assurance that a safety issue or fire related to the cells would not disrupt our operations. Any such disruptions or issues may harm our brand and business.

If our Smart EV owners customize our Smart EVs or change the charging infrastructure with aftermarket products, the Smart EV may not operate properly.

Automobile enthusiasts may seek to “hack” our Smart EVs to modify their performance which could compromise vehicle safety systems. Also, customers may customize our Smart EVs with after-market parts that can compromise driver safety. We do not test, nor do we endorse, such changes. In addition, the use of improper external cabling or unsafe charging outlets can expose our customers to injury from high voltage electricity. Such unauthorized modifications could reduce the safety of our Smart EVs and any injuries resulting from such modifications could result in adverse publicity, which would negatively affect our brand and harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

We may need to defend ourselves against claims for intellectual property infringement, which may be time-consuming and would cause us to incur substantial costs.

Companies, organizations or individuals, including our competitors, may hold or obtain patents, trademarks or other proprietary rights that would prevent, limit or interfere with our ability to make, use, develop, sell or market our Smart EVs, which could make it more difficult for us to operate our business. From time to time, we may receive communications from holders of patents, copyrights or trademarks regarding their proprietary rights. Companies holding patents, copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property rights may bring suits alleging infringement of such rights by us or our employees or otherwise assert their rights and urge us to take licenses. Any such intellectual property infringement claim could result in costly litigation and divert our management’s attention and resources.

 

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If we or our employees are determined to have infringed upon a third party’s intellectual property rights, we may be required to do one or more of the following:

 

   

cease offering Smart EVs or services that incorporate or use the challenged intellectual property;

 

   

pay substantial damages;

 

   

seek a license from the holder of the infringed intellectual property right, which license may not be available on reasonable terms or at all;

 

   

redesign our Smart EVs or relevant services which would incur significant cost; or

 

   

establish and maintain alternative branding for our Smart EVs and services.

In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us and our failure or inability to obtain a license to the infringed technology or other intellectual property right, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, any litigation or claims, whether or not valid, could result in substantial costs, negative publicity and diversion of resources and management attention.

We may not be able to prevent others from unauthorized use of our intellectual property, which could harm our business and competitive position.

We rely on a combination of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and confidentiality agreements to protect our proprietary rights. We rely on trademark and patent law, trade secret protection and confidentiality and license agreements with our employees and others to protect our intellectual proprietary rights. In addition, any unauthorized use of our intellectual property by third parties may adversely affect our current and future revenues and our reputation.

There can be no assurance that our application for the registration with competent government authorities of trademarks and other intellectual property rights related to our current or future business will be approved, or our intellectual property rights will not be challenged by third parties or found by the relevant governmental or judicial authority to be invalid or unenforceable. From time to time, we may encounter difficulties registering our trademarks or other intellectual properties or have disputes with third parties regarding our trademarks or other intellectual properties. If the relevant trademarks or other intellectual properties could not be registered, we may fail to prevent others from using such intellectual properties, and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Intellectual property protection may not be sufficient in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Furthermore, policing unauthorized use of proprietary technology is difficult and expensive. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, third parties may attempt to copy or otherwise obtain and use our intellectual property or seek court declarations that they do not infringe upon our intellectual property rights. Monitoring unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly, and we cannot assure you that the steps we have taken or will take will prevent misappropriation of our intellectual property. From time to time, we may have to resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources.

In addition, as our patents may expire and may not be extended and our patent rights may be contested, circumvented, invalidated or limited in scope, our patent rights may not protect us effectively. In particular, we may not be able to prevent others from developing or exploiting competing technologies, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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The use of certain premises may be disrupted if the land-use-purpose statutory provisions are strictly enforced by competent government authorities.

We lease a number of properties for our stores, service centers, offices and self-operated charging stations across China. Certain leased properties are not used in accordance with the designated purposes of such properties. For example, some stores or offices are currently located on lands designated for industrial usage instead of commercial usage. Under the PRC legal regime regarding the land use right, land shall be used strictly in line with the approved usage of the land. Any change as contemplated to the usages of land shall go through relevant land alteration registration procedures. If any state-owned land is illegally used beyond the approved usage, the land administrative departments of the PRC governments at and above the county level may retrieve the land and impose a fine. As such, our usage of such leased properties may subject the landlords to retrieval of land or removal of the buildings by the PRC government authorities and therefore we may need to move our stores, offices or charging stations somewhere else and additional relocation costs will be incurred.

In addition, certain leased properties had been mortgaged by the landlords to third parties before entering into lease agreements with us, and certain lessors of our leased properties failed to provide the building ownership certificates or other evidence demonstrating their rights to lease such properties. If the mortgagees of the leased properties exercise their mortgage right or the lessors do not actually have the rights to lease the relevant properties to us, we will not be able to continue our leases on the said properties and therefore we may need to relocate the relevant functions somewhere else and additional relocation costs will be incurred.

Our insurance coverage strategy may not be adequate to protect us from all business risks.

We have limited liability insurance coverage for our products and business operations. A successful liability claim against us due to injuries suffered by our customers could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and reputation. In addition, we do not have any business disruption insurance. Any business disruption event could result in substantial cost to us and diversion of our resources.

From time to time we may evaluate and potentially consummate strategic investments or acquisitions, which could require significant management attention, disrupt our business and adversely affect our financial results.

We may evaluate and consider strategic investments, combinations, acquisitions or alliances to enhance our competitive position. These transactions could be material to our financial condition and results of operations if consummated. If we are able to identify an appropriate business opportunity, we may not be able to successfully consummate the transaction and, even if we do consummate such a transaction, we may be unable to obtain the benefits or avoid the difficulties and risks of such transaction, which may result in investment losses.

Strategic investments or acquisitions will involve risks commonly encountered in business relationships, including:

 

   

difficulties in assimilating and integrating the operations, personnel, systems, data, technologies, products and services of the acquired business;

 

   

inability of the acquired technologies, products or businesses to achieve expected levels of revenue, profitability, productivity or other benefits including the failure to successfully further develop the acquired technology;

 

   

difficulties in retaining, training, motivating and integrating key personnel;

 

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diversion of management’s time and resources from our normal daily operations and potential disruptions to our ongoing businesses;

 

   

strain on our liquidity and capital resources;

 

   

difficulties in executing intended business plans and achieving synergies from such strategic investments or acquisitions;

 

   

difficulties in maintaining uniform standards, controls, procedures and policies within the overall organization;

 

   

difficulties in retaining relationships with existing suppliers and other partners of the acquired business;

 

   

risks of entering markets in which we have limited or no prior experience;

 

   

regulatory risks, including remaining in good standing with existing regulatory bodies or receiving any necessary pre-closing or post-closing approvals, as well as being subject to new regulators with oversight over an acquired business;

 

   

assumption of contractual obligations that contain terms that are not beneficial to us, require us to license or waive intellectual property rights or increase our risk for liability;

 

   

liability for activities of the acquired business before the acquisition, including intellectual property infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities; and

 

   

unexpected costs and unknown risks and liabilities associated with strategic investments or acquisitions.

Any future investments or acquisitions may not be successful, may not benefit our business strategy, may not generate sufficient revenues to offset the associated acquisition costs or may not otherwise result in the intended benefits.

Certain of our operating subsidiaries may be required to obtain additional licenses or permits or make additional filings or registrations.

In order to operate our business, we need to obtain a series of licenses, permits and approvals, make filings or complete registrations according to relevant PRC laws and regulations. However, given that the PRC authorities may have certain discretion in interpreting, implementing and enforcing relevant rules and regulations, as well as other factors beyond our control, we cannot guarantee you that we have obtained or will be able to obtain and maintain all requisite licenses, permits, filings and registrations.

 

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For example, PRC governments impose sanctions for engaging in value-added telecommunication services, or the VATS, without having obtained the VATS licenses for relevant categories. These sanctions include corrective orders and warnings from the PRC communication administration authority, fines and confiscation of illegal gains and, in the case of significant infringements, the websites and mobile apps may be ordered to cease operation. We have obtained two VATS licenses for Internet content provider, each held by Zhipeng IoV and Yidian Chuxing, which are two of the Group VIEs, respectively. Given that the interpretation of such regulations and PRC regulatory authorities’ enforcement of such regulations in the context of VATS industry are evolving, it is unclear whether we are required to obtain other VATS licenses. In addition, Zhipeng Kongjian, a subsidiary of one of the Group VIEs, is in the process of renewing the Surveying and Mapping Qualification Certificate for the operation of land surface mobile surveying and preparing true three-dimensional maps and navigation electronic maps. Furthermore, we also obtained an insurance agency business permit to conduct an insurance agency business, which is subject to regulation and inspection by the insurance regulatory authorities from time to time. Such insurance agency business permit is held by GIIA, which is also one of the Group VIEs. If we are not able to comply with all applicable legal requirements or obtain or renew necessary licenses and permits in a timely manner, we may be subject to fines, confiscation of the gains derived from our non-compliant operations or suspension of our non-compliant operations, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Certain of our operating subsidiaries that are providing repair and maintenance services have not made the automobile maintenance and management filing with competent government authorities. We may be ordered by the competent government authorities to rectify such non-compliance and failure to rectify such non-compliance may result in fines ranging from RMB5,000 to RMB20,000. In addition, one of our operating subsidiaries that is engaged in the cash settlement activities in relation to our franchised charging stations may be deemed as providing payment services and thus be required to obtain the payment business license. If we were deemed as providing payment services without obtaining the payment business license, we may be ordered by the People’s Bank of China, or the PBOC, or its local branch to cease the activities related to cash settlement.

In addition, we may be required to obtain a License for Online Transmission of Audio and Visual Programs, as we allow users of our XPENG mobile app to upload and share audio and video content on the mobile app from time to time. If the government authorities determine that the audio and video uploading feature on our XPENG mobile app should be subject to this license requirement, we may be required to obtain necessary license and may even be subject to penalties, fines, legal sanctions and/or an order to remove such feature. As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any notice of warning or been subject to penalties or other disciplinary action from the relevant government authorities regarding the lack of a License for Online Transmission of Audio and Visual Programs.

We may from time to time be subject to claims, disputes, lawsuits and other legal and administrative proceedings.

We are currently not party to any material legal or administrative proceedings. However, in light of the nature of our business, we and our management are susceptible to potential claims or disputes. We and certain of our management have been, and may from time to time in the future be, subject to or involved in various claims, disputes, lawsuits and other legal and administrative proceedings. Lawsuits and litigations may cause us to incur defense costs, utilize a significant portion of our resources and divert management’s attention from our day-to-day operations, any of which could harm our business. Claims arising out of actual or alleged violations of law, breach of contract or torts could be asserted against us by customers, business partners, suppliers, competitors, employees or governmental entities in investigations and legal proceedings. In particular, according to the PRC Social Insurance Law and the Administrative Measures on Housing Fund, employers are required, together with their employees or separately, to pay the social insurance premiums and housing funds for their employees. Employers that fail to make adequate social insurance and housing fund contributions may be subject to fines and legal sanctions. If the relevant PRC authorities determine that we shall make supplemental contributions, that we are not in compliance with labor laws and regulations, or that we are subject to fines or other legal sanctions, such as order of timely rectification, and our business, financial condition and results of operation may be adversely affected.

We are subject to various environmental and safety laws and regulations that could impose substantial costs upon us and cause delays in building our manufacturing facilities.

We are subject to multiple environmental and safety laws and regulations related to the manufacture of our Smart EVs, including the use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing process and the operation of our manufacturing plant. Such laws and regulations govern the use, storage, discharge and disposal of hazardous materials during the manufacturing process.

 

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In addition, from time to time, the government of the PRC issues new regulations, which may require additional actions on our part to comply. If the Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant or any of our other future constructions fails to comply with applicable regulations, we could be subject to substantial liability for clean-up efforts, personal injury or fines or be forced to close or temporarily cease the operations of the Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant or other relevant constructions, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation.

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis could be impaired.

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the rules and regulations of the NYSE. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. Commencing with our fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, we must perform system and process evaluation and testing of our internal controls over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting in our Form 20-F filing for that year, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In addition, beginning at the same time, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.

As of December 31, 2022, our management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures—Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting.” Our independent registered public accounting firm has issued a report, which has concluded that we maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022.

However, our internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control system’s objectives will be met. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud will be detected.

If we are unable to maintain proper and effective internal controls, we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements. If that were to happen, the market price of our ADSs and/or Class A ordinary shares could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the NYSE, SEC or other regulatory authorities.

If we upgrade our manufacturing equipment more quickly than expected, we may have to shorten the useful lives of any equipment to be retired as a result of any such update, and the resulting acceleration in our depreciation could negatively affect our financial results.

We have invested and expect to continue to invest significantly in what we believe is state of the art tooling, machinery and other manufacturing equipment in our manufacturing facilities, and we depreciate the cost of such equipment over their expected useful lives. However, manufacturing technology may evolve rapidly, and we may decide to update our manufacturing process with cutting-edge equipment more quickly than expected. Moreover, as our engineering and manufacturing expertise and efficiency increase, we may be able to manufacture our Smart EVs using less of our installed equipment. The useful life of any equipment that would be retired early as a result would be shortened, causing the depreciation on such equipment to be accelerated, and to the extent we own such equipment, our results of operations could be negatively impacted.

 

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Our warranty reserves may be insufficient to cover future warranty claims which could adversely affect our financial performance.

We offer competitive warranty terms. We accrue a warranty reserve for the Smart EVs sold by us, which includes our best estimate of the projected costs to repair or replace items under warranties and recalls when identified. We generally make warranty reserve by multiplying the expected unit costs for warranty services by the sales volume. We have limited experience with warranty claims regarding our Smart EVs or with estimating warranty reserves. As of December 31, 2022, we had warranty reserves in respect of our Smart EVs of RMB641.1 million. We could, in the future, become subject to a significant and unexpected warranty claims, resulting in significant expenses, which would in turn materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation.

We could be adversely affected by political tensions between the United States and China.

Political tensions between the United States and China have escalated in recent years due to, among other things,

 

   

the trade war between the two countries since 2018;

 

   

the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

   

the PRC National People’s Congress’ passage of Hong Kong national security legislation;

 

   

the imposition of U.S. sanctions on certain Chinese officials from China’s central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by the U.S. government, and the imposition of sanctions on certain individuals from the U.S. by the Chinese government;

 

   

various executive orders issued by the U.S. government, which include, among others,

 

   

the executive order issued in August 2020, as supplemented and amended from time to time, that prohibits certain transactions with ByteDance Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and the respective subsidiaries of such companies;

 

   

the executive order issued in November 2020, as supplemented and amended from time to time, including, among others, by an executive order issued in June 2021, that prohibits U.S. persons from transacting publicly traded securities of certain Chinese companies named in such executive order;

 

   

the executive order issued in January 2021, as supplemented and amended from time to time, that prohibits such transactions as are identified by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce with certain “Chinese connected software applications,” including Alipay and WeChat Pay; and

 

   

the imposition and application of sanction blocking statutes by the Chinese government, including the Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extra-territorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures promulgated by the MOFCOM, on January 9, 2021, which will apply to Chinese individuals or entities that are purportedly barred by a foreign country’s law from dealing with nationals or entities of a third country.

Rising political tensions between China and the U.S. could reduce levels of trades, investments, technological exchanges and other economic activities between the two major economies, which would have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets. The measures taken by the U.S. and Chinese governments may have the effect of restricting our ability to transact or otherwise do business with entities within or outside of China and may cause investors to lose confidence in Chinese companies and counterparties, including us. If we were unable to conduct our business as it is currently conducted as a result of such regulatory changes, our business, results of operations and financial condition would be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Furthermore, the U.S. government has imposed measures regarding limiting or restricting China-based companies from accessing U.S. capital markets and delisting certain China-based companies from U.S. national securities exchanges. For further information, see “—Risks Relating to Doing Business in China—The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor which the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board was unable to inspect and investigate completely before 2022 and, as such, our investors have been deprived of the benefits of such inspections in the past, and may be deprived of the benefits of such inspections in the future.” In January 2021, after reversing its own delisting decision, the NYSE ultimately resolved to delist China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom in compliance with the executive order issued in November 2020, after receiving additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury and its Office of Foreign Assets Control. In addition, the NYSE announced in February 2021 that it has determined to commence proceedings to delist CNOOC Limited in light of the same executive order. These delistings have introduced greater confusion and uncertainty about the status and prospects of Chinese companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges. If any further measures were to be implemented, the resulting legislation may have a material and adverse impact on the stock performance of China-based issuers listed in the United States such as us, and we cannot assure you that we will always be able to maintain the listing of our ADSs on a national stock exchange in the U.S., such as the NYSE or the NASDAQ, or that you will always be allowed to trade our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs.

We face risks associated with the international sale of our Smart EVs, and if we are unable to effectively manage these risks, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

While we have historically sold substantially all of our Smart EVs in China, we have been exploring opportunities to expand into international markets. For example, in December 2020, the first batch of the European version of the G3 was delivered to customers in Norway. In August 2021, we started the deliveries of the P7 to the European market. In 2022, we opened our self-operated stores in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. In February 2023, we launched the G9 flagship SUV and the new P7 sports sedan for Europe. We may also test sales into other international markets. While we expect China will continue to be our primary market, the marketing and sale of our Smart EVs to international markets may increase in the future, which will expose us to a number of risks, including, but not limited, to:

 

   

fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;

 

   

increased costs associated with maintaining the ability to understand the local markets and develop and maintain effective marketing and distributing presence in various countries;

 

   

providing customer service and support in these markets;

 

   

difficulty with staffing and managing overseas operations;

 

   

failure to develop appropriate risk management and internal control structures tailored to overseas operations;

 

   

difficulty and cost relating to compliance with different commercial and legal requirements of the overseas markets in which we offer or plan to offer our products and services including charging and other electric infrastructures;

 

   

failure to obtain or maintain permits for our products or services in these markets;

 

   

different safety concerns and measures needed to address accident related risks in different countries and regions;

 

   

inability to obtain, maintain or enforce intellectual property rights;

 

   

unanticipated changes in prevailing economic conditions and regulatory requirements; and

 

   

trade barriers such as export requirements, tariffs, taxes and other restrictions and expenses.

 

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Our expansion into international markets will require us to respond timely and effectively to rapid changes in market conditions in the relevant countries. Our success in international expansion depends, in part, on our ability to succeed in different legal, regulatory, economic, environmental, social and political conditions which we have little control over. We may not be able to develop and implement policies and strategies that will be effective in each location where we do business. A change in one or more of the factors described above may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have incurred and may continue to incur substantial share-based compensation expenses.

In 2015, our subsidiary, Chengxing Zhidong, adopted a share incentive plan, pursuant to which options were granted to certain employees of Chengxing Zhidong and its subsidiaries. In June 2020, XPeng Inc. adopted a share incentive plan, or the Plan, to replace the share incentive plan adopted by Chengxing Zhidong, and we issued restricted share units, or RSUs to replace the options granted to certain employees of Chengxing Zhidong and its subsidiaries. As of March 31, 2023, RSUs which represent 30,712,434 underlying Class A ordinary shares were outstanding (which do not include the Class A ordinary shares underlying the vested RSUs), and 2,706,468 shares underlying such RSUs were held by XPeng Fortune Holdings Limited, or XPeng Fortune, which has been established for our share incentive plan. We are required to recognize compensation expense for an equity award over the period in which the recipient is required to provide service in exchange for the equity award. Because the vesting of the RSUs (including the RSUs issued to replace the options granted under the share incentive plan of Chengxing Zhidong) granted prior to our initial public offering in the U.S. was contingent upon the completion of an initial public offering or change in control, we started to recognize share-based compensation expense after the completion of our initial public offering in the U.S. in August 2020. The Group recognized RMB996.4 million, RMB379.9 million and RMB710.5 million of share-based compensation expenses in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. Moreover, as we expect to grant additional RSUs or other share incentives to our employees, directors or consultants in the future, we will incur additional share-based compensation expense and our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Any financial or economic crisis, or perceived threat of such a crisis, including a significant decrease in consumer confidence, may materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation.

The global macroeconomic environment is facing challenges. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States. There have been concerns over the downturn in economic output caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear whether these challenges will be contained and what effects they each may have. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions. Recently there have been signs that the rate of China’s economic growth is declining, and China’s economy contracted in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Any prolonged slowdown in China’s economic development might lead to tighter credit markets, increased market volatility, sudden drops in business and consumer confidence and dramatic changes in business and consumer behaviors. Credit risks of customers and suppliers and other counterparty risks may also increase.

Sales of our Smart EVs depend in part on discretionary consumer spending and are even more exposed to adverse changes in general economic conditions. In response to their perceived uncertainty in economic conditions, consumers might delay, reduce or cancel purchases of our Smart EVs and our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We are subject to various laws relating to export controls.

A substantial part of our research and development on ADAS is conducted in the United States, and we are required to comply with the U.S. laws and regulations on export controls, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations. Currently, such laws and regulations do not restrict our ability to offer our U.S.-origin software to customers in China. However, we may be affected by future changes in U.S. export control laws and regulations. In addition, in October 2022, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security imposed additional export controls on certain advanced computing semiconductor chips, integrated circuits, semiconductor manufacturing items and related transactions. These recent export controls are, in part, intended to restrict China’s ability to obtain advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors. The implementation, interpretation and impact on our business of these rules and other regulatory actions taken by the U.S. government is uncertain. These actions and/or other actions that may be taken by the governments of either the U.S. or China, or both (including in response to recent increased tensions), could hinder our ability to transfer our U.S.-origin software to China, source U.S.-origin software and components or otherwise access U.S. technology, which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

If we fail to effectively manage our inventory, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

In order to operate our business effectively and meet our consumers’ demands and expectations, we must maintain a certain level of inventory to ensure timely delivery. We determine our level of inventory based on our experience, number of orders from customers and assessment of customer demand.

However, forecasts are inherently uncertain, and the demand for our products could change significantly between the order date and the projected delivery date. If we fail to accurately forecast the demand, we may experience inventory obsolescence and inventory shortage risk. Inventory levels in excess of demand may result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, which would have an adverse effect on our profitability. We recognized inventory write-downs of RMB92.6 million, RMB162.4 million and RMB220.3 million in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. In addition, if we underestimate the demand for our products, our manufacturers may not be able to produce a sufficient number of products to meet such unanticipated demand, which could result in delays in the delivery of our products and harm our reputation.

Any of the above may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. As we plan to continue to expand our product offerings, we may continue to face challenges in effectively managing our inventory.

Significant impairment charges to our balance of intangible assets could materially and adversely impact our financial position and results of the Group’s operations.

The Group’s intangible assets primarily consist of manufacturing license, license plate, software and license of maintenance and overhaul. In addition, the Group’s controlling financial interest (as a result of existing contractual arrangements and as the term is defined under ASC 810) provides for the consolidation of the Group VIEs which hold certain licenses. Such contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the Group VIEs. See “—Risks Relating to Our Corporate Structure— We rely on contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs and their respective affiliate shareholders to operate certain businesses that do not have and are not expected in the foreseeable future to have material revenue contributions to the Group. Such contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control and otherwise have a material adverse effect as to our business.” The Group’s intangible assets amounted to RMB607.8 million, RMB878.7 million and RMB1,043.0 million as of December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. The Group tests finite-lived intangible assets for impairment if impairment indicators arise. The indefinite-lived intangible assets are tested for impairment annually or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the assets may not be recoverable. Any significant impairment losses charged against the Group’s intangible assets could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

Fluctuation of fair value change in short-term investments may affect our results of operations.

We have made short-term investments, mainly comprising of the investments issued by major and reputable commercial banks with a variable interest rate indexed to the performance of underlying assets. Short-term investments are stated at fair value. Changes in the fair value are reflected in our consolidated statements of comprehensive loss. The methodology that we use to assess the fair value of the short-term investments involve a significant degree of management judgment and are inherently uncertain. We cannot assure you that market conditions will create fair value gains on our short-term investments or we will not incur any fair value losses on short-term investments in the future. If we incur such fair value losses, our results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.

 

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If we do not continue to receive preferential tax treatments, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We have benefited from government grants and preferential tax treatments, many of which are non-recurring in nature or are subject to periodic review. There can be no assurance we will continue to receive preferential tax treatment. If we are unable to receive such treatment in the future, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Our recognition of deferred revenue is subject to future performance obligations and may not be representative of revenues for succeeding periods.

Our deferred revenue represents transaction payments allocated to performance obligations that are unsatisfied, which primarily arises from, among others, the undelivered vehicles, charging piles and free battery charging within certain limits. Our deferred revenue balance was RMB308.4 million, RMB897.3 million and RMB1,083.2 million as of December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. The timing and ultimate recognition of our deferred revenue depend on various factors, including our performance of obligations. As a result, deferred revenue at any particular date may not be representative of actual revenue for any succeeding period.

We recorded shareholders’ deficit.

We recorded total shareholders’ deficit of RMB6,830.4 million as of December 31, 2019, primarily due to the accounting treatment for our company’s preferred shares before our initial public offering in the U.S. as total mezzanine equity, and not total shareholders’ equity. After our initial public offering in the United States in August 2020, all of the preferred shares had been converted into ordinary shares. As such, as of December 31, 2022, we did not have any mezzanine equity and recorded total shareholders’ equity of RMB36,910.7 million.

Although the total shareholders’ deficit recorded during 2019 was not due to capital shortage and was primarily resulted from accounting treatment of preferred shares, we cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to record total shareholders’ equity and total net assets in the future. If we fail to do so, our financial condition may deteriorate.

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of epidemics. In recent years, there have been outbreaks of epidemics in China and globally. If any of our employees are identified as a possible source of spreading COVID-19, H1N1 flu, avian flu or another epidemic, we may be required to quarantine employees that are suspected of being infected, as well as others that have come into contact with those employees. We may also be required to disinfect our affected premises, which could cause a temporary suspension of certain business operations. A recurrence of an outbreak of COVID-19, H1N1 flu, avian flu or another epidemic could restrict the level of economic activities generally and/or slow down or disrupt our business activities, which could in turn adversely affect our results of operations.

 

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The Group has experienced certain disruptions in its operations as a result of the government-imposed suspensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in China in the previous years. A substantial number of our offices and stores, as well as our manufacturing facilities, were closed for certain periods in the first quarter of 2020. As a result, our Smart EV delivery decreased from 3,218 units in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2,271 units in the first quarter of 2020. In particular, we delivered 1,055 units, 161 units and 1,055 units of Smart EVs in January, February and March 2020, respectively, which were lower than our expectation before the COVID-19 outbreak. The sharp decrease in the number of deliveries in February 2020 was mainly due to the significant impact from COVID-19 outbreak in China and seasonal impact from the Chinese New Year holiday. In the second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter of 2020, we delivered 3,228 units, 8,578 units and 12,964 units of Smart EVs, respectively. The pandemic affected and may affect future delivery of components from certain suppliers that suspended production. For example, some of our suppliers were unable to deliver sufficient components to us due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot assure you that such situation will not occur in the future if the COVID-19 pandemic resurges and that we will be able to find alternative suppliers should that happen in the future. See also “—We are dependent on our suppliers, some of which are single-source suppliers. Suppliers may fail to deliver necessary components of our Smart EVs according to our schedule and at prices, quality levels and volumes acceptable to us.” In addition, we incurred additional costs relating to the delivery of new Smart EVs to customers’ homes, mask donations to our customers, technology advancement for remote working arrangements and OTA firmware updates during the pandemic.

We are also vulnerable to natural disasters and other calamities, especially those relating to climate change. Although we have servers that are hosted in an offsite location, our backup system does not capture data on a real-time basis and we may be unable to recover certain data in the event of a server failure. We cannot assure you that any backup systems will be adequate to protect us from the effects of fire, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, power loss, telecommunications failures, break-ins, war, riots, terrorist attacks or similar events. Any of the foregoing events may give rise to interruptions, breakdowns, system failures, technology platform failures or internet failures, which could cause the loss or corruption of data or malfunctions of software or hardware as well as adversely affect our ability to provide services to our customers.

Risks Relating to Doing Business in China

Changes and developments in the political and economic policies of the PRC government may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and may result in our inability to sustain our growth and expansion strategies.

The Group’s operations are mainly conducted in the PRC, and substantially all of our revenues have historically been sourced from the PRC. Accordingly, our financial condition and results of operations are affected to a significant extent by economic, political and legal developments in the PRC.

The PRC economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the extent of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. A substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The PRC government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth by allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, restricting the inflow and outflow of foreign capital, regulating financial services and institutions and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth in the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy. The PRC government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall PRC economy, but may also have a negative effect on us. Our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations that are applicable to us. The PRC government also has significant authority to exert influence on the ability of a China-based issuer, such as our company, to conduct its business. The PRC government may intervene or influence the Group’s operations at any time, which could result in a material change in the Group’s operations and/or the value of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares. In particular, the PRC government has recently promulgated new laws and regulations to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers. Any such regulatory oversight or control could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or become worthless. In addition, the PRC government has implemented in the past certain measures to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity, which in turn could lead to a reduction in demand for our services and consequently have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Changes and developments in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws, rules and regulations may subject us to uncertainties.

The Group’s operations are mainly conducted in the PRC, and are governed by PRC laws, rules and regulations. The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value.

The overall effect of legislation over the past decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investment in China. However, the PRC legal system is still evolving rapidly, and the PRC governmental authorities may continue to promulgate new laws and regulations regulating our businesses. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice. We cannot assure you that our business operations would not be deemed to be violating any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, which in turn may limit or restrict us, and could materially and adversely affect our business and operations.

For example, certain PRC regulatory authorities issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities, which were available to the public on July 6, 2021 and emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies, and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies, and provided that the special provisions of the State Council on overseas offering and listing by those companies limited by shares will be revised and therefore the duties of domestic industry competent authorities and regulatory authorities will be clarified. On February 17, 2023, the CSRC promulgated the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, and relevant five guidelines on the application of Regulatory Rules, which took effect from March 31, 2023, requiring Chinese domestic companies’ overseas equity offerings or listings be filed with the CSRC. The Overseas Listing Trial Measures clarify the scope of overseas offerings or listings by Chinese domestic companies which are subject to the filing and reporting requirements thereunder, and provide, among others, that Chinese domestic companies that have already directly or indirectly offered and listed securities in overseas markets prior to the effectiveness of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures shall fulfil their filing obligations and report relevant information to the CSRC within three working days after conducting a follow-on securities offering on the same overseas market, and follow the relevant reporting requirements within three working days upon the occurrence and public disclosure of any specified circumstances provided thereunder. In addition, we cannot guarantee that new rules or regulations promulgated in the future will not impose any additional requirement on us or otherwise tighten the regulations on PRC companies seeking overseas offering or listing. If it is determined that any approval, filing or other administrative procedure from the CSRC or other PRC governmental authorities is required for our future follow-on public offering or debt financing activities, we cannot assure that we can obtain the required approval or accomplish the required filings or other regulatory procedures in a timely manner, or at all. If we fail to obtain the relevant approval or complete the filings and other relevant regulatory procedures, we may face penalties by the CSRC or other PRC governmental authorities, which may include fines and penalties on our operations in China, limitations on our operating privileges in China, restrictions on or prohibition of the payments or remittance of dividends by our subsidiaries in China, or other actions that could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs.

Any administrative and court proceedings in China may be time-consuming, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have certain discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy. These uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and/or our intellectual property rights and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor which the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board was unable to inspect and investigate completely before 2022 and, as such, our investors have been deprived of the benefits of such inspections in the past, and may be deprived of the benefits of such inspections in the future.

Our auditor, the independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit report included elsewhere in this annual report, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the U.S. and a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, is required by the laws of the U.S. to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the U.S. and professional standards. According to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. Accordingly, without the consent of the competent PRC securities regulators and relevant authorities, no organization or individual may provide the documents and materials relating to securities business activities to overseas parties. In 2021, PCAOB made determinations that the positions taken by PRC authorities prevented the PCAOB from inspecting and investigating firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong completely. On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB signed a Statement of Protocol with the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Finance of the PRC, taking the first step toward opening access for the PCAOB to inspect and investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong. According to its announcement, the PCAOB sent staff to conduct on-site inspections and investigations in Hong Kong from September to November 2022 and conducted inspection field work and investigative testimony in a manner consistent with the PCAOB’s methodology and approach to inspections and investigations in the U.S. and globally. The PCAOB inspections have preliminarily identified numerous deficiencies regarding the audit firms in China that were subject to the inspection, which are consistent with the types and number of findings the PCAOB has encountered in other first-time inspections around the world, and the final inspection report is expected to be completed and made public in 2023. If audit firms in China had been subject to such inspections in the past, such deficiencies may have been identified earlier and these audit firms, including our auditor, may have taken remedial measures to address any such deficiencies, and the historical inability of the PCAOB to inspect audit firms in China has deprived our investors of the benefits of such inspections. Because audit firms in China were not subject to such inspections before 2022, we cannot assure you that our auditor will have sufficient time to fully address any applicable deficiencies that may have been identified as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality in China. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct complete inspections of auditors in China before 2022 may have made it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors or potential investors in our ADSs to lose confidence in the quality of our consolidated financial statements.

In addition, while the PCAOB announced in December 2022 that it secured complete access to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in China, we cannot assure you that the PCAOB will continue to have such access in the future. If the PCAOB is not able to inspect and investigate completely auditors in China for any reason, such as any change in the position of the governmental authorities in China in the future, our investors may be deprived of the benefits of such inspections again.

 

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If the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely our auditor at any point in the future for two consecutive years, our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, as amended, or the HFCA Act, and any such trading prohibition on our ADSs or threat thereof may materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs and value of your investment.

The HFCA Act was signed into law on December 18, 2020 and amended pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 on December 29, 2022. Under the HFCA Act and the rules issued by the SEC and the PCAOB thereunder, if we have retained a registered public accounting firm to issue an audit report where the registered public accounting firm has a branch or office that is located in a foreign jurisdiction and the PCAOB has determined that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by an authority in the foreign jurisdiction, the SEC will identify us as a “covered issuer”, or SEC-identified issuer, shortly after we file with the SEC a report required under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act (such as our annual report on Form 20-F) that includes an audit report issued by such accounting firm; and if we were to be identified as an SEC-identified issuer for two consecutive years, the SEC would prohibit our securities (including our shares or ADSs) from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States.

In December 2021, the PCAOB made its determinations, or the 2021 determinations, pursuant to the HFCA Act that it was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China or Hong Kong including our independent auditor. After we filed our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, on April 28, 2022, the SEC conclusively identified us as an SEC-identified issuer on May 26, 2022. As such, we are required to satisfy additional disclosure requirement for SEC-identified issuers that are also foreign issuers in this annual report. See “Item 16I. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections.”

Following the Statement of Protocol signed between the PCAOB and the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Finance of the PRC in August 2022 and the on-site inspections and investigations conducted by the PCAOB staff in Hong Kong from September to November 2022, the PCAOB Board voted in December 2022 to vacate the previous 2021 determinations, and as a result, our auditor is no longer a registered public accounting firm that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F or at the time of issuance of the audit report included herein. As such, we do not expect to be identified as an SEC-identified issuer again in 2023. Each year, the PCAOB will determine whether it can inspect and investigate completely audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong, among other jurisdictions. If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, we would be identified as a SEC-identified issuer following the filing of the annual report on Form 20-F for the relevant fiscal year. We cannot assure you that the PCAOB will always have complete access to inspect and investigate our auditor, or that we will not be identified as an SEC-identified issuer again in the future.

If we are identified as an SEC-identified issuer again in the future, we cannot assure you that we will be able to change our auditor or take other remedial measures in a timely manner, and if we were to be identified as an SEC-identified issuer for two consecutive years, we would be delisted from the NYSE and our securities (including our shares and ADSs) will not be permitted for trading “over-the-counter” either. Although our Class A ordinary shares have been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the ADSs and Class A ordinary shares are fully fungible, we cannot assure your that an active trading market for our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be sustained or that the ADSs can be converted and traded with sufficient market recognition and liquidity, if our shares and ADSs are prohibited from trading in the United States. Such a prohibition or any threat thereof would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ADSs when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our ADSs. Also, such a prohibition or any threat thereof would significantly affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, which would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and prospects. Moreover, the implementation of the HFCA Act and other efforts to increase the U.S. regulatory access to audit information could cause investor uncertainty as to China-based issuers’ ability to maintain their listings on the U.S. national securities exchanges and the market price of the securities of China-based issuers, including us, could be adversely affected.

 

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Certain PRC regulations establish procedures for acquisitions conducted by foreign investors that could make it more difficult for us to grow through acquisitions.

Certain PRC regulations established additional procedures and requirements that are expected to make merger and acquisition activities in China by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex. For example, the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, require that the MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise if (i) any important industry is concerned, (ii) such transaction involves factors that have or may have impact on the national economic security, or (iii) such transaction will lead to a change in control of a domestic enterprise which holds a famous trademark or PRC time-honored brand. The approval from the MOFCOM shall be obtained in circumstances where overseas companies established or controlled by PRC enterprises or residents acquire affiliated domestic companies. Mergers, acquisitions or contractual arrangements that allow one market player to take control of or to exert decisive impact on another market player must also be notified in advance to the anti-monopoly authority under the State Council when the threshold under the Provisions on Thresholds for Prior Notification of Concentrations of Undertakings, or the Prior Notification Rules, issued by the State Council in August 2008 and amended in September 2018, is triggered. In addition, the security review rules issued by the MOFCOM that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOFCOM, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. Furthermore, as required by the Measures for the Security Review of Foreign Investment, promulgated by the NDRC and the MOFCOM on December 19, 2020 and effective as of January 18, 2021, investments in military, national defense-related areas or in locations in proximity to military facilities, or investments that would result in acquiring the actual control of assets in certain key sectors, such as critical agricultural products, energy and resources, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, cultural products and services, information technology, Internet products and services, financial services and technology sectors, are required to obtain approval from designated governmental authorities in advance. We may grow our business in part by acquiring other companies operating in our industry. Complying with the requirements of the new regulations to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including approval from the MOFCOM, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—M&A Rules and Overseas Listings.”

PRC regulations relating to investments in offshore companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC-resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries or limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits.

PRC residents are subject to restrictions and filing requirements when investing in offshore companies. The SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, on July 4, 2014. SAFE Circular 37 requires PRC residents to register with local branches of the SAFE in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, referred to in SAFE Circular 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.” Pursuant to SAFE Circular 37, “control” refers to the act through which a PRC resident obtains the right to carry out business operation of, to gain proceeds from or to make decisions on a special purpose vehicle by means of, among others, shareholding entrustment arrangement. SAFE Circular 37 further requires amendment to the registration in the event of any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC individuals, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material event. In the event that a PRC shareholder holding interests in a special purpose vehicle fails to fulfill the required SAFE registration, the PRC subsidiaries of that special purpose vehicle may be prohibited from making profit distributions to the offshore parent and from carrying out subsequent cross-border foreign exchange activities, and the special purpose vehicle may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital into its PRC subsidiary. Moreover, failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for evasion of foreign exchange controls. According to the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving Policies for the Foreign Exchange Administration of Direct Investment released on February 13, 2015 by the SAFE, local banks will examine and handle foreign exchange registration for overseas direct investment, including the initial foreign exchange registration and amendment registration, under SAFE Circular 37 from June 1, 2015.

 

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We may not be aware of the identities of all of our beneficial owners who are PRC residents. We do not have control over our beneficial owners and there can be no assurance that all of our PRC-resident beneficial owners will comply with SAFE Circular 37 and subsequent implementation rules, and there is no assurance that the registration under SAFE Circular 37 and any amendment will be completed in a timely manner, or will be completed at all. The failure of our beneficial owners who are PRC residents to register or amend their foreign exchange registrations in a timely manner pursuant to SAFE Circular 37 and subsequent implementation rules, or the failure of future beneficial owners of our company who are PRC residents to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular 37 and subsequent implementation rules, may subject such beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to fines and legal sanctions. Failure to register or comply with relevant requirements may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital to our PRC subsidiaries and limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to our company. These risks may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Increases in labor costs and enforcement of stricter labor laws and regulations in China may adversely affect our business and our profitability.

China’s overall economy and the average wage in China have increased in recent years and are expected to grow. The average wage level for our employees has also increased in recent years. We expect that our labor costs, including wages and employee benefits, will increase. Unless we are able to pass on these increased labor costs to our customers, our profitability and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, we have been subject to stricter regulatory requirements in terms of entering into labor contracts with our employees and paying various statutory employee benefits, including pensions, housing fund, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance to designated government agencies for the benefit of our employees. Pursuant to the PRC Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules, employers are subject to stricter requirements in terms of signing labor contracts, minimum wages, paying remuneration, determining the term of employee’s probation and unilaterally terminating labor contracts. In the event that we decide to terminate any of our employees or otherwise change our employment or labor practices, the PRC Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules may limit our ability to do so or effect those changes in a desirable or cost-effective manner, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

As the interpretation and implementation of labor-related laws and regulations in China are still evolving, our employment practices may inadvertently violate labor-related laws and regulations in China, which may subject us to labor disputes or government investigations. We cannot assure you that we have complied or will be able to comply with all labor-related law and regulations including those relating to obligations to make social insurance payments and contribute to the housing provident funds. If we are deemed to have violated relevant labor laws and regulations, we could be required to provide additional compensation to our employees and our business, financial condition and results of operations will be adversely affected.

 

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Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding our employee share incentive plan may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.

Pursuant to SAFE Circular 37, PRC residents who participate in share incentive plans in overseas non-publicly-listed companies due to their position as director, senior management or employees of the PRC subsidiaries of the overseas companies may submit applications to SAFE or its local branches for the foreign exchange registration with respect to offshore special purpose companies before they obtain the incentive shares or exercise the share options. Our directors, executive officers and other employees who are PRC residents and who have been granted options may follow SAFE Circular 37 to apply for the foreign exchange registration before our company becomes an overseas listed company. As an overseas listed company, we and our directors, executive officers and other employees who are PRC residents and who have been granted options are subject to the Notice on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, issued by SAFE in February 2012, according to which, employees, directors, supervisors and other management members participating in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company who are PRC residents are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be a PRC subsidiary of such overseas listed company, and complete certain other procedures. We have made efforts to comply with these requirements. However, there can be no assurance that they can successfully register with SAFE in full compliance with the rules. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject them to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit the ability to make payment under our share incentive plan or receive dividends or sales proceeds related thereto, or our ability to contribute additional capital into our wholly-foreign owned enterprise in China and limit our wholly-foreign owned enterprise’s ability to distribute dividends to us. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional share incentive plans for our directors and employees under PRC law.

We rely to a significant extent on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our principal operating subsidiaries to fund offshore cash and financing requirements. Any limitation on the ability of our PRC operating subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

We are a holding company and rely to a significant extent on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our principal operating subsidiaries, for our offshore cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders, fund inter-company loans, service any debt we may incur outside of China and pay our expenses. When our principal operating subsidiaries incur additional debt, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions or remittances to us. Furthermore, the laws, rules and regulations applicable to our PRC subsidiaries and certain other subsidiaries permit payments of dividends only out of their retained earnings, if any, determined in accordance with applicable accounting standards and regulations.

Under PRC laws, rules and regulations, each of our subsidiaries incorporated in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its net income each year to fund certain statutory reserves until the cumulative amount of such reserves reaches 50% of its registered capital. These reserves, together with the registered capital, are not distributable as cash dividends. As a result of these laws, rules and regulations, our subsidiaries incorporated in China are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of their respective net assets to their shareholders as dividends, loans or advances. Certain of our subsidiaries did not have any retained earnings available for distribution in the form of dividends as of December 31, 2022. In addition, registered capital and capital reserve accounts are also restricted from withdrawal in the PRC, up to the amount of net assets held in each operating subsidiary.

The Group currently has four Group VIEs and cash flow from such Group VIEs are immaterial.

 

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We may be treated as a resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, and we may therefore be subject to PRC income tax on our global income.

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementing rules, enterprises established under the laws of jurisdictions outside of China with “de facto management bodies” located in China may be considered PRC tax resident enterprises for tax purposes and may be subject to the PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on their global income. “De facto management body” refers to a managing body that exercises substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting and assets of an enterprise. The State Administration of Taxation issued the Notice Regarding the Determination of Chinese-Controlled Offshore-Incorporated Enterprises as PRC Tax Resident Enterprises on the Basis of De Facto Management Bodies, or Circular 82, on April 22, 2009, which was most recently amended on December 29, 2017. Circular 82 provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a Chinese-controlled offshore-incorporated enterprise is located in China. Although Circular 82 only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises, not those controlled by foreign enterprises or individuals, the determining criteria set forth in Circular 82 may reflect the State Administration of Taxation’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises. If we were to be considered a PRC resident enterprise, we would be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on our global income. In such case, our profitability and cash flow may be materially reduced as a result of our global income being taxed under the Enterprise Income Tax Law. We believe that none of our entities outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.”

Dividends paid to our foreign investors and gains on the sale of the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by our foreign investors may become subject to PRC tax.

Under the Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation regulations issued by the State Council, a 10% PRC withholding tax is applicable to dividends paid to investors that are non-resident enterprises, which do not have an establishment or place of business in the PRC or which have such establishment or place of business but the dividends are not effectively connected with such establishment or place of business, to the extent such dividends are derived from sources within the PRC. Any gain realized on the transfer of ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by such investors is also subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 10%, if such gain is regarded as income derived from sources within the PRC. If we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends paid on our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs, and any gain realized from the transfer of our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs, would be treated as income derived from sources within the PRC and would as a result be subject to PRC taxation. Furthermore, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends paid to individual investors who are non-PRC residents and any gain realized on the transfer of ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by such investors may be subject to PRC tax (which in the case of dividends may be withheld at source) at a rate of 20%. Any PRC tax liability may be reduced by an applicable tax treaty. However, if we or any of our subsidiaries established outside China are considered a PRC resident enterprise, it is unclear whether holders of the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares would be able to claim the benefit of income tax treaties or agreements entered into between China and other countries or areas. If dividends paid to our non-PRC investors, or gains from the transfer of the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares by such investors, are deemed as income derived from sources within the PRC and thus are subject to PRC tax, the value of your investment in the ADSs or Class A ordinary shares may decline significantly.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to declare any dividends in the foreseeable future.

 

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We and our shareholders face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises or other assets attributed to a Chinese establishment of a non-Chinese company, or immovable properties located in China owned by non-Chinese companies.

On February 3, 2015, the State Administration of Taxation issued the Bulletin on Issues of Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Transfers of Assets by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, as amended in December 2017, or Bulletin 7. Pursuant to this Bulletin 7, an “indirect transfer” of assets, including non-publicly traded equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if such arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax. According to Bulletin 7, “PRC taxable assets” include assets attributed to an establishment in China, immovable properties located in China, and equity investments in PRC resident enterprises, in respect of which gains from their transfer by a direct holder, being a non-PRC resident enterprise, would be subject to PRC enterprise income taxes. When determining whether there is a “reasonable commercial purpose” of the transaction arrangement, features to be taken into consideration include, without limitation: whether the main value of the equity interest of the relevant offshore enterprise derives from PRC taxable assets; whether the assets of the relevant offshore enterprise mainly consists of direct or indirect investment in China or if its income mainly derives from China; whether the offshore enterprise and its subsidiaries directly or indirectly holding PRC taxable assets have real commercial nature which is evidenced by their actual function and risk exposure; the duration of existence of the business model and organizational structure; the replicability of the transaction by direct transfer of PRC taxable assets; and the tax situation of such indirect transfer and applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements. In respect of an indirect offshore transfer of assets of a PRC establishment, the resulting gain is to be included with the enterprise income tax filing of the PRC establishment or place of business being transferred, and would consequently be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25%. Where the underlying transfer relates to the immovable properties located in China or to equity investments in a PRC resident enterprise, which is not related to a PRC establishment or place of business of a non-resident enterprise, a PRC enterprise income tax of 10% would apply, subject to available preferential tax treatment under applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements, and the party who is obligated to make the transfer payments has the withholding obligation. Bulletin 7 does not apply to transactions of sale of shares by investors through a public stock exchange where such shares were acquired from a transaction through a public stock exchange. On October 17, 2017, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Circular 37, which became effective on December 1, 2017 and was most recently amended on June 15, 2018. SAT Circular 37, among other things, simplified procedures of withholding and payment of income tax levied on non-resident enterprises.

We face uncertainties as to the reporting and other implications of certain past and future transactions where PRC taxable assets are involved, such as offshore restructuring, sale of the shares in our offshore subsidiaries or investments. Our company may be subject to filing obligations or taxed if our company is transferor in such transactions, and may be subject to withholding obligations if our company is transferee in such transactions under Bulletin 7 and SAT Circular 37. For transfer of shares in our company by investors that are non-PRC resident enterprises, our PRC subsidiaries may be requested to assist in the filing under Bulletin 7 and SAT Circular 37. As a result, we may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 and SAT Circular 37 or to request the relevant transferors from whom we purchase taxable assets to comply with these publications, or to establish that our company should not be taxed under these publications, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to restrictions on currency exchange.

Substantially all of our revenues are denominated in Renminbi. The Renminbi is currently convertible under the “current account,” which includes dividends, trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, but not under the “capital account,” which includes foreign direct investment and loans, including loans we may secure from our PRC subsidiaries. Currently, our PRC subsidiaries may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” including payment of dividends to us, by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant PRC governmental authorities may limit or eliminate our ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions. Foreign exchange transactions under the capital account remain subject to limitations and require approvals from, or registration with, the SAFE and other relevant PRC governmental authorities. Since a significant amount of our future revenues and cash flow will be denominated in Renminbi, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to utilize cash generated in Renminbi to fund our business activities outside of the PRC or pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs, and may limit our ability to obtain foreign currency through debt or equity financing for our onshore subsidiaries.

 

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PRC regulation of loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may restrict or prevent us from using the proceeds of our offshore offerings to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries.

In utilizing the proceeds from our initial public offering in the U.S. and our follow-on public offering completed in December 2020, we, as an offshore holding company, are permitted under PRC laws and regulations to provide funding to our PRC subsidiaries, which are treated as foreign-invested enterprises under PRC laws, through loans or capital contributions. However, loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the local counterpart of SAFE and capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries are subject to the requirement of making necessary registration with competent governmental authorities in China.

SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or Circular 19, effective on June 1, 2015, which was amended on December 30, 2019. According to Circular 19, the flow and use of the RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company is regulated such that RMB capital may not be used for the issuance of RMB entrusted loans, the repayment of inter-enterprise loans or the repayment of banks loans that have been transferred to a third party. Although Circular 19 allows RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise to be used for equity investments within the PRC, it also reiterates the principle that RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope. Thus, it is unclear whether SAFE will permit such capital to be used for equity investments in the PRC in actual practice. SAFE subsequently issued several circulars in the following years to provide additional guidelines on the use by foreign-invested entities’ of the income under their capital accounts generated from their capital, foreign debt and overseas listing. However, the interpretation and enforcement of SAFE Circular 19 and other circulars remain subject to uncertainty and potential future policy changes from the SAFE.

In light of the various requirements imposed by PRC regulations on loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans or future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. As a result, uncertainties exist as to our ability to provide prompt financial support to our PRC subsidiaries when needed. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use foreign currency, including the proceeds we received from the initial public offering in the U.S. and the follow-on public offering, and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in foreign currency exchange losses and could materially reduce the value of your investment.

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions and the foreign exchange policy adopted by the PRC government. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar. Following the removal of the U.S. dollar peg, the Renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation halted and the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, the Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. On November 30, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund, completed the regular five-year review of the basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right, or the SDR, and decided that with effect from October 1, 2016, Renminbi is determined to be a freely usable currency and will be included in the SDR basket as a fifth currency, along with the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Renminbi has depreciated significantly in the backdrop of a surging U.S. dollar and persistent capital outflows of China. This depreciation halted in 2017, and the Renminbi appreciated approximately 7% against the U.S. dollar during this one-year period. Starting from the beginning of 2019, the Renminbi has depreciated significantly against the U.S. dollar again. In early August 2019, the PBOC set the Renminbi’s daily reference rate at RMB7.0039 to US$1.00, the first time that the exchange rate of Renminbi to U.S. dollar exceeded 7.0 since 2008. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system, and we cannot assure you that the Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.

 

 

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Most of our revenue and costs are denominated in Renminbi. We are a holding company and we rely on dividends paid by our operating subsidiaries in China for our cash needs. Any significant revaluation of Renminbi may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial position reported in Renminbi when translated into U.S. dollars, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, the ADSs in U.S. dollars. To the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from our initial public offering in the U.S. and the follow-on public offering into Renminbi for the Group’s operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive. Conversely, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount.

The ability of U.S. authorities to bring actions for violations of U.S. securities law and regulations against us, our directors, executive officers or the expert named in this annual report may be limited. Therefore, you may not be afforded the same protection as provided to investors in U.S. domestic companies.

The SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice, or the DOJ, and other U.S. authorities often have substantial difficulties in bringing and enforcing actions against non-U.S. companies such as us, and non-U.S. persons, such as our directors and executive officers in China. Due to jurisdictional limitations, matters of comity and various other factors, the SEC, the DOJ and other U.S. authorities may be limited in their ability to pursue bad actors, including in instances of fraud, in emerging markets such as China. The Group’s operations are mainly conducted in China and the Group’s assets are mainly located in China. In addition, a majority of our directors and executive officers reside within China. There may be significant legal and other obstacles for U.S. authorities to obtain information needed for investigations or litigation against us or our directors, executive officers or other gatekeepers in case we or any of these individuals engage in fraud or other wrongdoing. In addition, local authorities in China may be constrained in their ability to assist U.S. authorities and overseas investors in connection with legal proceedings. As a result, if we, our directors, executive officers or other gatekeepers commit any securities law violation, fraud or other financial misconduct, the U.S. authorities may not be able to conduct effective investigations or bring and enforce actions against us, our directors, executive officers or other gatekeepers. Therefore, you may not be able to enjoy the same protection provided by various U.S. authorities as it is provided to investors in U.S. domestic companies.

 

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You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing original actions in China, based on United States or other foreign laws, against us, our directors, executive officers or the expert named in this annual report. Therefore, you may not be able to enjoy the protection of such laws in an effective manner.

The Group conducts its operations mainly in China, and its assets are mainly located in China. In addition, a majority of our directors and executive officers reside within China. As a result, it may not be possible to effect service of process within the United States or elsewhere outside China upon us, our directors and executive officers, including with respect to matters arising under U.S. federal securities laws or applicable state securities laws. Even if you obtain a judgment against us, our directors, executive officers or the expert named in this annual report in a U.S. court or other court outside China, you may not be able to enforce such judgment against us or them in China. China does not have treaties providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments of courts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan or most other western countries. Therefore, recognition and enforcement in China of judgments of a court in any of these jurisdictions may be difficult or impossible. In addition, you may not be able to bring original actions in China based on the U.S. or other foreign laws against us, our directors, executive officers or the expert named in this annual report. As a result, shareholder claims that are common in the U.S., including class actions based on securities law and fraud claims, are difficult or impossible to pursue as a matter of law and practicality in China. For example, in China, there may be significant legal and other obstacles to obtaining information needed for shareholder investigations or litigation outside China or otherwise with respect to foreign entities. According to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. In addition, on February 24, 2023, the CSRC and several other Chinese authorities promulgated the Provisions on Strengthening Confidentiality and Archives Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, which provide that where an overseas securities regulator and a competent overseas authority requests to inspect, investigate or collect evidence from a PRC domestic company concerning overseas offering and listing, or to inspect, investigate, or collect evidence from the PRC domestic securities companies and securities service providers that undertake relevant businesses for such PRC domestic companies, such inspection, investigation and evidence collection shall be conducted under a cross-border regulatory cooperation mechanism, and the CSRC or other competent Chinese authorities will provide necessary assistance pursuant to bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms. The PRC domestic company, securities companies and securities service providers shall first obtain approval from the CSRC or other competent Chinese authorities before cooperating with the inspection and investigation by the overseas securities regulator or competent overseas authority, or providing documents and materials requested in such inspection and investigation. Accordingly, without the consent of the competent PRC securities regulators and relevant authorities, no organization or individual may provide the documents and materials relating to securities business activities to overseas parties. As such, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China may further increase difficulties faced by investors in protecting your interests. If an investor is unable to bring a U.S. claim or collect on a U.S. judgment, the investor may have to rely on legal claims and remedies available in China or other overseas jurisdictions where a China-based issuer, such as our company, may maintain assets. The claims and remedies available in these jurisdictions are often significantly different from those available in the United States and difficult to pursue. Therefore, you may not be able to effectively enjoy the protection offered by the U.S. laws and regulations that are intended to protect public investors.

Judgment of United States courts will not be directly enforced in Hong Kong. There are currently no treaties or other arrangements providing for reciprocal enforcement of foreign judgments between Hong Kong and the United States. However, subject to certain conditions, including but not limited to when the judgment is for a liquidated amount in a civil matter and not in respect of taxes, fines, penalties or similar charges, the judgment is final and conclusive and has not been stayed or satisfied in full, the proceedings in which the judgment was obtained were not contrary to natural justice and the enforcement of the judgment is not contrary to public policy of Hong Kong, Hong Kong courts may accept such judgment obtained from a United States court as a debt due under the rules of common law enforcement. However, a separate legal action for debt must be commenced in Hong Kong in order to recover such debt from the judgment debtor, and there can be no assurance that such legal action in Hong Kong would be resolved in favor of the judgment debtor.

 

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Additional remedial measures could be imposed on certain PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, in administrative proceedings instituted by the SEC, as a result of which our financial statements may be determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, if at all.

In December 2012, the SEC brought administrative proceedings against the PRC-based “big four” accounting firms, including the auditors of our audit report in this annual report, alleging that they had violated U.S. securities laws by failing to provide audit work papers and other documents related to certain other PRC-based companies under investigation by the SEC. On January 22, 2014, an initial administrative law decision was issued, censuring and suspending these accounting firms from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. The decision was neither final nor legally effective until reviewed and approved by the SEC, and on February 12, 2014, the PRC-based accounting firms appealed to the SEC against this decision. In February 2015, each of the four PRC-based accounting firms agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC. The settlement required the firms to follow detailed procedures to seek to provide the SEC with access to such firms’ audit documents via the CSRC. If the firms did not follow these procedures or if there is a failure in the process between the SEC and the CSRC, the SEC could impose penalties such as suspensions, or it could restart the administrative proceedings. Under the terms of the settlement, the underlying proceeding against the four PRC-based accounting firms was deemed dismissed with prejudice for four years after entry of the settlement. The four-year mark occurred on February 6, 2019.

Pursuant to the HFCA Act, the PCAOB issued a report on December 16, 2021 notifying the SEC of its determination that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely accounting firms headquartered in mainland China or Hong Kong, including the four PRC-based accounting firms. Although he PCAOB Board voted in December 2022 to vacate its previous determination following the Statement of Protocol signed between the PCAOB and the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Finance of the PRC in August 2022 and the on-site inspections and investigations conducted by the PCAOB staff in Hong Kong, we cannot assure you that the PCAOB will always have complete access to inspect and investigate the four PRC-based accounting firms. See “—If the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely our auditor at any point in the future for two consecutive years, our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, as amended, or the HFCA Act, and any such trading prohibition on our ADSs or threat thereof may materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs and value of your investment.” In the event that the PRC-based “big four” accounting firms become subject to additional legal challenges by the SEC or PCAOB, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the U.S. with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our Class A ordinary shares and/or our ADSs may be adversely affected.

If the auditors of our audit report in this annual report independent registered public accounting firm were denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on the Group’s consolidated financial statements, the Group’s consolidated financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to delisting of the ADSs from the NYSE or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of the ADSs in the U.S.

Risks Relating to Our Corporate Structure

Revenue contributions from the Group VIEs have not been and are not expected in the foreseeable future to be material. Nonetheless, if the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to the Group VIEs do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may decline in value if we are unable to assert our contractual control rights over the assets of the Group VIEs.

Because we are an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are classified as a foreign enterprise under PRC laws and regulations, and our PRC subsidiaries are foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we set up a series of contractual arrangements entered into among some of our PRC subsidiaries, the Group VIEs and their shareholders to conduct some of our operations in China. For a detailed description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.”

 

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If our corporate structure and contractual arrangements are deemed by the relevant regulators having competent authority to be illegal, either in whole or in part, we may lose control of the Group VIEs and have to modify such structure and contractual arrangements to comply with regulatory requirements. However, there can be no assurance that we can achieve this without material disruption to our business. Further, if our corporate structure and contractual arrangements are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, the relevant regulatory authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:

 

   

revoking our relevant business and operating licenses;

 

   

levying fines on us;

 

   

confiscating any of our income that they deem to be obtained through illegal operations;

 

   

shutting down our relevant services;

 

   

discontinuing or restricting the Group’s operations in China;

 

   

imposing conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply;

 

   

requiring us to change our corporate structure and contractual arrangements;

 

   

restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds from overseas offering to finance the Group VIEs’ business and operations; and

 

   

taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.

Furthermore, new PRC laws, rules and regulations may be introduced to impose additional requirements that may be applicable to our corporate structure and contractual arrangements. See “—Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law and its implementing rules and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.” Occurrence of any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If the PRC government determines that these contractual arrangements do not comply with PRC regulations, or if these regulations change or are interpreted differently in the future, our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may decline in value if we are unable to assert our contractual control rights over the assets of the Group VIEs. In addition, if the imposition of any of these penalties or requirement to restructure our corporate structure causes us to lose the rights to direct the activities of the Group VIEs or our right to receive their economic benefits, we would no longer be able to consolidate the financial results of such VIEs in our consolidated financial statements.

Our contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs may result in adverse tax consequences to us.

We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that our contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs were not made on an arm’s length basis and adjust our income and expenses for PRC tax purposes by requiring a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could adversely affect us by (i) increasing the tax liabilities of the Group VIEs without reducing the tax liability of our subsidiaries, which could further result in late payment fees and other penalties to the Group VIEs for underpaid taxes; or (ii) limiting the ability of the Group VIEs to obtain or maintain preferential tax treatments and other financial incentives.

 

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We rely on contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs and their respective affiliate shareholders to operate certain businesses that do not have and are not expected in the foreseeable future to have material revenue contributions to the Group. Such contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control and otherwise have a material adverse effect as to our business.

We rely on contractual arrangements with the Group VIEs and their respective affiliate shareholders to operate the business in areas where foreign ownership is restricted or prohibited, including the value-added telecommunications business. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with the Group VIEs and Their Shareholders.” These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the Group VIEs. Investors in our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares are not purchasing equity interest in the Group’s operating entities in China, but instead are purchasing an equity interest in XPeng Inc., a Cayman Islands holding company. The Group VIEs do not represent a material percentage of the Group’s results of operations and the Group VIEs do not support material revenues reported within other subsidiaries of our company. The Group VIEs are consolidated with our results of operations for accounting purposes pursuant to U.S. GAAP (ASC 810). However, if the Group VIEs or the respective affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs fail to perform their respective obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements, and rely on legal remedies under PRC laws, including contractual remedies, which may not be sufficient or effective. All of these contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration or court proceedings in the PRC. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC laws and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. However, uncertainties regarding the interpretation and enforcement of the relevant PRC laws and regulations could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC laws, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and if the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in the PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event that we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant time delays or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, it would be very difficult to exert effective control over the Group VIEs, and our ability to conduct our business and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. See “—Risks Relating to Doing Business in China—Changes and developments in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws, rules and regulations may subject us to uncertainties.”

If we exercise the option to acquire equity ownership of the Group VIEs, the ownership transfer may subject us to certain limitations and substantial costs.

Pursuant to the contractual arrangements, to the extent allowed by PRC laws, rules and regulations, Xiaopeng Technology, Xiaopeng Chuxing, or their respective designated person, have the exclusive right to purchase all or any part of the equity interests in the relevant Group VIEs from their respective affiliate shareholders equal to the amount of the relevant registered capital contributed by the affiliate shareholders in the relevant Group VIEs. If such amount in each case is lower than the minimum price permitted by PRC law, the minimum price permitted by PRC law shall be the purchase price. Subject to relevant laws and regulations, the affiliate shareholders of the relevant Group VIEs shall return any amount of purchase price they have received to Xiaopeng Technology or Xiaopeng Chuxing. In September 2021, Xiaopeng Technology acquired 50% of equity interest in Zhipeng IoV from its individual shareholders, and Xiaopeng Chuxing acquired 50% of equity interest in Yidian Chuxing from its individual shareholders. As the transfer prices of such equity transfers might be subject to review and tax adjustment with reference to the market value by the relevant tax authorities, such authorities may require Xiaopeng Technology or Xiaopeng Chuxing to pay individual income taxes in the PRC on behalf of the individual shareholders for ownership transfer income with reference to the market value accordingly, in which case the amount of tax could be substantial.

 

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The affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs may have conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

We rely on the affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs to abide by the obligations under such contractual arrangements. The interests of these shareholders in their capacities as the shareholders of the Group VIEs may differ from the interests of our company as a whole, as what is in the best interests of the Group VIEs, including matters such as whether to distribute dividends or to make other distributions to fund our offshore requirement, may not be in the best interests of our company. There can be no assurance that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or those conflicts of interest will be resolved in our favor. In addition, these shareholders may breach or cause the Group VIEs and their subsidiaries to breach or refuse to renew the existing contractual arrangements with us. Control over, and funds due from, the Group VIEs may be jeopardized if such shareholders breach the terms of the contractual arrangements or are subject to legal proceedings.

Currently, we do not have arrangements to address conflicts of interest the affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs may encounter, on one hand, and as a beneficial owner of our company, on the other hand. We, however, could, at all times, exercise our option under the exclusive call option agreements to cause them to transfer all of their equity ownership in the Group VIEs to an entity or individual designated by us as permitted by the then applicable PRC laws. In addition, if such conflicts of interest arise, we could also, in the capacity of attorney-in-fact of the then existing affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs as provided under the power of attorney agreements, directly appoint new directors of the Group VIEs. We rely on the affiliate shareholders of the Group VIEs to comply with PRC laws and regulations, which protect contracts and provide that directors and executive officers owe a duty of loyalty to our company and require them to avoid conflicts of interest and not to take advantage of their positions for personal gains, and the laws of the Cayman Islands, which provide that directors have a duty of care and a duty of loyalty to act honestly in good faith with a view to our best interests. However, the legal frameworks of China and the Cayman Islands do not provide guidance on resolving conflicts in the event of a conflict with another corporate governance regime. If we cannot resolve any conflicts of interest or disputes between us and the individual shareholders of the Group VIEs, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

Our corporate actions will be substantially controlled by certain shareholders who will have the ability to control or exert significant influence over important corporate matters that require approval of shareholders, which may deprive you of an opportunity to receive a premium for the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs and materially reduce the value of your investment.

Our current memorandum and articles of association provide that in respect of all matters subject to a shareholders’ vote, each Class A ordinary share is entitled to one vote and each Class B ordinary share is entitled to 10 votes, save that each Class A ordinary share and Class B ordinary share shall entitle its holder to one vote on a poll at a general meeting in respect of a resolution on any of the following matters: (a) any amendment to our memorandum or articles of association, including the variation of the rights attached to any class of shares; (b) the appointment, election or removal of any independent non-executive director; (c) the appointment or removal of our auditors; or (d) the voluntary liquidation or winding-up of us. As of March 31, 2023, Mr. Xiaopeng He, our co-founder, chairman beneficially owned all the Class B ordinary shares issued and outstanding, which represented 71.8% of the voting power of our total issued and outstanding shares. As a result, Mr. He has the ability to control or exert significant influence over important corporate matters to the extent permitted under the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, as amended or supplemented from time to time, or the Hong Kong Listing Rules, and the memorandum and articles of association, and investors may be prevented from affecting important corporate matters involving our company that require approval of shareholders, including:

 

   

the composition of our board of directors and, through it, any determinations with respect to the Group’s operations, business direction and policies, including the appointment and removal of officers;

 

   

any determinations with respect to mergers or other business combinations;

 

   

our disposition of substantially all of our assets; and

 

   

any change in control.

 

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These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including the holders of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs. Furthermore, this concentration of ownership may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the dual effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their respective shares as part of a sale of our company and reducing the price of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs. As a result of the foregoing, the value of your investment could be materially reduced.

The structure of our share capital may render the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs ineligible for inclusion in certain stock market indices, and thus adversely affect the market price and liquidity of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs.

In July 2017, FTSE Russell and Standard & Poor’s announced that they would cease to allow most newly public companies utilizing dual or multi-class capital structures to be included in their indices. Affected indices include the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600, which together make up the S&P Composite 1500. Under the announced policies, our capital structure with more than one class of shares would make Class A ordinary shares and ADSs ineligible for inclusion in any of these indices, and as a result, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not be investing in the ADSs and Class A ordinary shares. These policies are still relatively new and it is yet unclear what effect, if any, they have had and will have on the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from the indices, but it is possible that they may depress these valuations compared to those of other similar companies that are included and may adversely affect the liquidity of the shares of such companies. As such, the exclusion of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs from these indices could result in a less active trading market for the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs and adversely affect their trading price.

If the custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets, our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Under PRC law, legal documents for corporate transactions, including agreements and contracts such as the leases and sales contracts that our business relies on, are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity or with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with the relevant local branch of the State Administration for Market Regulation, or the SAMR. We generally execute legal documents by affixing chops or seals, rather than having the designated legal representatives sign the documents. The chops of our subsidiaries and Group VIEs are generally held by the relevant entities so that documents can be executed locally. Although we usually utilize chops to execute contracts, the registered legal representatives of our subsidiaries and Group VIEs have the apparent authority to enter into contracts on behalf of such entities without chops, unless such contracts set forth otherwise.

In order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secured locations accessible only to the designated key employees of our legal, administrative or finance departments. Our designated legal representatives generally do not have access to the chops. Although we have approval procedures in place and monitor our key employees, including the designated legal representatives of our subsidiaries and Group VIEs, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. There is a risk that our key employees or designated legal representatives could abuse their authority, for example, by binding our subsidiaries and Group VIEs with contracts against our interests, as we would be obligated to honor these contracts if the other contracting party acts in good faith in reliance on the apparent authority of our chops or signatures of our legal representatives. If any designated legal representative obtains control of the chop in an effort to obtain control over the relevant entity, we would need to have a shareholder or board resolution to designate a new legal representative and to take legal action to seek the return of the chop, apply for a new chop with the relevant authorities, or otherwise seek legal remedies for the legal representative’s misconduct. If any of the designated legal representatives obtains and misuses or misappropriates our chops and seals or other controlling intangible assets for whatever reason, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations. We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve while distracting management from our operations, and our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law and its implementing rules and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The VIE structure through contractual arrangements has been adopted by many PRC-based companies, including us, to obtain necessary licenses and permits in the industries that are currently subject to foreign investment restrictions in China. The MOFCOM published a discussion draft of the proposed Foreign Investment Law in January 2015, or the 2015 Draft FIL, according to which, variable interest entities that are controlled via contractual arrangements would also be deemed as foreign-invested entities, if they are ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors. In March 2019, the PRC National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, and in December 2019, the State Council promulgated the Implementing Rules of Foreign Investment Law, or the Implementing Rules, to further clarify and elaborate the relevant provisions of the Foreign Investment Law. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules both became effective from January 1, 2020 and replaced the major previous laws and regulations governing foreign investments in the PRC. Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investments” refer to investment activities conducted by foreign investors (including foreign natural persons, foreign enterprises or other foreign organizations) directly or indirectly in the PRC, which include any of the following circumstances: (i) foreign investors setting up foreign-invested enterprises in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, (ii) foreign investors obtaining shares, equity interests, property portions or other similar rights and interests of enterprises within the PRC, (iii) foreign investors investing in new projects in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, and (iv) investment in other methods as specified in laws, administrative regulations, or as stipulated by the State Council. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules do not introduce the concept of “control” in determining whether a company would be considered as a foreign-invested enterprise, nor do they explicitly provide whether the VIE structure would be deemed as a method of foreign investment. However, the Foreign Investment Law has a catch-all provision that includes into the definition of “foreign investments” made by foreign investors in China in other methods as specified in laws, administrative regulations, or as stipulated by the State Council, and as the relevant government authorities may promulgate more laws, regulations or rules on the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the concept of “control” as stated in the 2015 Draft FIL may be embodied in, or the VIE structure adopted by us may be deemed as a method of foreign investment by, any of such future laws, regulations and rules. If any Group VIEs were deemed as a foreign-invested enterprise under any of such future laws, regulations and rules, and any of the businesses that we operate would be in any “negative list” for foreign investment and therefore be subject to any foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions, further actions required to be taken by us under such laws, regulations and rules may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Risks Relating to Our Share and ADSs

The trading price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares has been and is likely to continue to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to you.

The trading price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares has been and is likely to continue to be, volatile and could fluctuate widely in response to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. The stock market in general, and the market for technology companies in particular, has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. In particular, the stock prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in Hong Kong and/or the United States may affect the volatility in the prices of and trading volumes for our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial price declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of other Chinese companies’ securities, including technology companies, may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the U.S. and/or Hong Kong, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. Furthermore, securities markets may from time to time experience significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to our operating performance, such as the large decline in share prices in the U.S., China and other jurisdictions in late 2008, early 2009, the second half of 2011, 2015 and the first quarter of 2020. In particular, concerns about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have triggered significant price fluctuations in the U.S. stock market. In addition, a portion of our ADSs may be traded by short sellers, which may further increase the volatility of the trading price of our ADSs. All these fluctuations and incidents may have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our Class A ordinary shares and/or our ADSs.

In addition to the above factors, the price and trading volume of our Class A ordinary shares and/or our ADSs may be highly volatile due to multiple factors, including the following:

 

   

regulatory developments affecting us or our industry;

 

   

announcements of studies and reports relating to the quality of our product offerings or those of our competitors;

 

   

changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other providers of electric vehicles;

 

   

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations and changes or revisions of our expected results;

 

   

changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;

 

   

conditions in the EV market in China;

 

   

announcements by us or our competitors of new product and service offerings, acquisitions, strategic relationships, joint ventures, capital raisings or capital commitments;

 

   

additions to or departures of our senior management;

 

   

the implementation of the HFCA Act and future development in that regard;

 

   

fluctuations of exchange rates between the Renminbi, the Hong Kong dollar and the U.S. dollar;

 

   

release or expiry of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs; and

 

   

sales or perceived potential sales of additional Class A ordinary shares or ADSs.

 

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An active trading market for our ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, our ADSs on the NYSE and/or our other securities might not be sustained and trading prices of our ordinary shares, ADSs and/or our other securities might fluctuate significantly.

We cannot assure you that an active trading market for our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be sustained. In addition, we cannot assure you that an active trading market for our ADSs on the NYSE or for our other securities will be sustained. For example, investors may convert our ADSs into Class A ordinary shares listed in Hong Kong. If our investors convert a significant portion of our ADSs into Class A ordinary shares listed in Hong Kong or if such conversions happen suddenly or at a rapid pace, the price and liquidity of our ADSs could be severely impacted. The trading price or liquidity for our ADSs on the NYSE and the trading price or liquidity for our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the past might not be indicative of those of our ADSs on the NYSE and our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the future. In addition, legislation, executive orders and other regulatory actions, such as the HFCA Act and U.S. Executive Order 13959, may cause our ADSs to be delisted from the NYSE. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely our auditor at any point in the future for two consecutive years, our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, as amended, or the HFCA Act, and any such trading prohibition on our ADSs or threat thereof may materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs and value of your investment.” If an active trading market of our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, our ADSs on the NYSE or our other securities is not sustained, the market price and liquidity of our Class A ordinary shares, our ADSs or our other securities, could be materially and adversely affected, and there may be difficulties in enforcing obligations with respect to our other securities.

We may fail to meet our publicly announced guidance or other expectations about our business, which could cause our stock price to decline.

We may from time to time provide guidance regarding our expected financial and business performance. Correctly identifying key factors affecting business conditions and predicting future events is inherently an uncertain process, and our guidance may not ultimately be accurate in all respects. Our guidance is based on certain assumptions, such as those relating to anticipated production and sales volumes, average sales prices, supplier and commodity costs, and planned cost reductions. If our guidance varies from actual results, the market value of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs could decline significantly.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs and their trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our Class A ordinary shares and our ADSs will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If research analysts do not establish and maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs to decline.

Because we do not expect to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future, you may not receive any return on your investment unless you sell your Class A ordinary shares or ADSs for a price greater than that which you paid for them.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy.” Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

 

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Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of the ADSs. There is no guarantee that our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs will appreciate in value in the future or even maintain the price at which you purchased our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs.

Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs to decline.

Sales of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs to decline significantly. As of March 31, 2023, we had 1,376,842,739 Class A ordinary shares and 348,708,257 Class B ordinary shares issued and outstanding, excluding 949,986 Class A ordinary shares issued to our depository bank for bulk issuance of ADSs and reserved for future issuance upon the exercise or vesting of awards granted under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan. All ADSs representing our Class A ordinary shares sold in our initial public offering in the U.S. and follow-on public offering are freely transferable by persons other than our “affiliates” without restriction or additional registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. All of the other ordinary shares outstanding are available for sale, subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act.

In addition, certain of our shareholders have the right to cause us to register the sale of their ordinary shares under the Securities Act upon occurrence of certain circumstances. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in ADSs representing these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration. Sales of ADSs representing these registered shares in the public market could cause the price of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs to decline significantly.

Holders of our ADSs may have fewer rights than holders of our Class A ordinary shares and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights of our shareholders and may only exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under our current memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required to convene an annual general meeting will be 21 days and an extraordinary general meeting will be 14 days.

When a general meeting is convened, the holders of ADSs may not receive sufficient notice of a shareholders’ meeting to permit the withdrawal of the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by their ADSs to allow them to cast their votes with respect to any specific matter. In addition, the depositary and its agents may not be able to send voting materials to holders of ADSs or carry out the voting instructions of the holders of ADSs in a timely manner. We will make all reasonable efforts to cause the depositary to extend voting rights to holders of ADSs in a timely manner, but there can be no assurance that holders of ADSs will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that they can instruct the depositary to vote their ADSs. Furthermore, the depositary and its agents will not be responsible for any failure to carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote. As a result, holders of ADSs may not be able to exercise their right to vote and may lack recourse if the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by their ADSs are not voted as they requested. In addition, holders of ADSs will not be able to call a shareholders’ meeting.

 

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Except in limited circumstances, the depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the Class A ordinary shares underlying the ADSs at shareholders’ meetings if holders of these ADSs do not give voting instructions to the depositary, which could adversely affect the interests of the holders of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs.

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, if holders of ADSs do not vote, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by their ADSs at shareholders’ meetings unless:

 

   

we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

 

   

we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;

 

   

a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have an adverse impact on holders of ADSs; or

 

   

the voting at the meeting is to be made on a show of hands.

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that holders of ADSs cannot prevent our underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by their ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our Company. Holders of our Class A ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

The rights of our ADS holders to pursue claims against the depositary as a holder of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement and the deposit agreement may be amended or terminated without their consent.

Under the deposit agreement, any action or proceeding against or involving the depositary, arising out of or based upon the deposit agreement or the transactions contemplated thereby or by virtue of owning the ADSs (including any such action or proceeding that may arise under the Securities Act or Exchange Act) may only be instituted in a state or federal court in New York, New York, and holder of our ADSs will have irrevocably waived any objection which they may have to the laying of venue of any such proceeding, and irrevocably submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in any such action or proceeding. Also, we may amend or terminate the deposit agreement without the consent of holders of ADSs. If holders of ADSs continue to hold their ADSs after an amendment to the deposit agreement, they will be deemed to have agreed to be bound by the deposit agreement as amended, unless such amendment is found to be invalid under any applicable laws, including the federal securities law.

The right of our ADS holders to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to their holdings of our ADSs.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to holders of ADSs in the U.S. unless we register both the distribution and sale of the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not make rights available to holders of ADSs unless both the distribution and sale of the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to holders of ADSs are either registered under the Securities Act or exempt from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective and we may not be able to establish a necessary exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings in the future and may experience dilution in their holdings.

 

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Holders of our ADSs may not receive cash dividends or other distributions if the depositary determines it is illegal or impractical to make such cash dividends or other distributions available to them.

The depositary will pay cash distribution on the ADSs only to the extent that we decide to distribute dividends on our Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities, and we do not have any present plan to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy.” To the extent that there is a distribution, the depositary of the ADSs has agreed to pay to holders of ADSs the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on our Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities after deducting its fees and expenses. Holders of ADSs will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A ordinary shares their ADSs represent. However, the depositary may, at its discretion, decide that it is illegal or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, the depositary may determine that it is not practicable to distribute certain property through the mail, or that the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may decide not to distribute such property to holders of ADSs.

We have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant costs as a public company, which could lower our profits or make it more difficult to run our business.

As a public company, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company to ensure that we comply with the various requirements on corporate governance practices imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and NYSE, as well as the applicable laws and regulations in Hong Kong (including the Hong Kong Listing Rules).

For example, we have increased the number of independent directors and adopted policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. We have also incurred additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. We expect that these rules and regulations will continue to cause us to incur elevated legal and financial compliance costs, devote substantial management effort to ensure compliance and make some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules and regulations, and we cannot predict or estimate with any degree of certainty the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.

In the past, shareholders of a public company often brought securities class action suits against companies following periods of instability in the market price of those companies’ securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations, which could harm our results of operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Holders of ADSs may be subject to limitations on transfer of their ADSs.

Our ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deems it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

 

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Our current memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could discourage a third party from acquiring us, which could limit our shareholders’ opportunity to sell their shares, including ordinary shares represented by the ADSs, at a premium.

Our current memorandum and articles of association gives us powers to take actions, some of which could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. For example, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to (i) issue, allot and dispose of shares (including, without limitation, preferred shares) to such persons, in such manner, on such terms and having such rights and being subject to such restrictions as the directors may from time to time determine, (ii) grant rights over shares or other securities to be issued in one or more classes or series and to determine the designations, powers, preferences, privileges, and other rights attaching to such shares or securities, including dividend rights, voting rights, conversion rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the powers, preferences, privileges and rights associated with our then issued and outstanding shares and (iii) grant options with respect to shares and issue warrants or similar instruments with respect thereto. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, provided that (x) it is in compliance with the Hong Kong Listing Rules and the Code on Takeovers and Mergers, (y) no new class of shares with voting rights superior to those of Class A ordinary shares will be created and (z) any variations in the relative rights as between the different classes will not result in creating new class of shares with voting rights superior to those of Class A ordinary shares. The price of the Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

ADS holders may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to claims arising under the deposit agreement, which could result in less favorable outcomes to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

The deposit agreement governing our ADSs provides that, to the extent permitted by law, holders of our ADSs waive the right to a jury trial of any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under U.S. federal securities laws. However, you will not be deemed, by agreeing to the terms of the deposit agreement, to have waived our or the depositary’s compliance with U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. In fact, you cannot waive our or the depositary’s compliance with U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

If we or the depositary oppose a jury trial demand based on the above-mentioned jury trial waiver, the court will determine whether the waiver is enforceable in the facts and circumstances of that case in accordance with applicable case law. The deposit agreement governing our ADSs provides that, (i) the deposit agreement and the ADSs will be interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, and (ii) as an owner of ADSs, you irrevocably agree that any legal action arising out of the deposit agreement and the ADSs involving us or the depositary may only be instituted in a state or federal court in the city of New York. While to our knowledge, the enforceability of a jury trial waiver under the federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by a federal court, we believe that a jury trial waiver provision is generally enforceable under the laws of the State of New York by a federal or state court in the City of New York. In determining whether to enforce a jury trial waiver provision, New York courts will consider whether the visibility of the jury trial waiver provision within the agreement is sufficiently prominent such that a party has knowingly waived any right to trial by jury. We believe that this is the case with respect to the deposit agreement and the ADSs. In addition, New York courts will not enforce a jury trial waiver provision in order to bar a viable setoff or counterclaim sounding in fraud or one which is based upon a creditor’s negligence in failing to liquidate collateral upon a guarantor’s demand, or in the case of an intentional tort claim, none of which we believe are applicable in the case of the deposit agreement or the ADSs. If you or any other holder or beneficial owner of ADSs brings a claim against us or the depositary in connection with matters arising under the deposit agreement or the ADSs, including claims under federal securities laws, you or such other holder or beneficial owner may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to such claims, which may have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us and / or the depositary. If a lawsuit is brought against us and / or the depositary under the deposit agreement, it may be heard only by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have had, including results that could be less favorable to the plaintiff(s) in any such action, depending on, among other things, the nature of the claims, the judge or justice hearing such claims and the venue of the hearing.

 

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Moreover, as the jury trial waiver relates to claims arising out of or relating to the ADSs or the deposit agreement, we believe that, as a matter of construction of the clause, the waiver would likely to continue to apply to ADS holders who withdraw the Class A ordinary shares from the ADS facility with respect to claims arising before the cancellation of the ADSs and the withdrawal of the Class A ordinary shares, and the waiver would most likely not apply to ADS holders who subsequently withdraw the Class A ordinary shares represented by ADSs from the ADS facility with respect to claims arising after the withdrawal. However, to our knowledge, there has been no case law on the applicability of the jury trial waiver to ADS holders who withdraw the Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs from the ADS facility.

You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts or Hong Kong courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

We are an exempted company limited by shares incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, Cayman Companies Act and the common law of the Cayman Islands.

The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law may be narrower in scope or less developed than they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the U.S. In particular, the Cayman Islands have a less developed body of securities laws than the U.S. and Hong Kong. For example, some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States or a Hong Kong court.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies, whilst under our current memorandum and articles of association, holders of our ordinary shares will have a right to inspect or obtain copies of our list of shareholders and annual audit report of our profit and loss account and balance sheet. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder resolution or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the U.S. or Hong Kong.

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to U.S. domestic public companies.

Because we qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the U.S. that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including: (i) the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing with the SEC of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, quarterly certifications by the principal executive and financial officers or current reports on Form 8-K; (ii) the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act; (iii) the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and (iv) the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

 

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We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis as press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the NYSE. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. For example, U.S. domestic issuers are required to file annual reports within 60 to 90 days from the end of each fiscal year. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information that would be made available to you were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

We are a “controlled company” as defined under the NYSE Listed Company Manual. As a result, we qualify for, and may rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that would otherwise provide protection to shareholders of other companies.

We are a “controlled company” as defined under the NYSE Listed Company Manual because Mr. Xiaopeng He, our co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, holds more than 50% of the aggregate voting power of our company. For so long as we remain a controlled company, we may rely on exemptions from certain corporate governance rules, including (i) the requirement that a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors, (ii) the requirement that the compensation of our officers be determined or recommended to our board of directors by a compensation committee that is comprised solely of independent directors, and (iii) the requirement that director nominees be selected or recommended to the board of directors by a majority of independent directors or a nominating committee comprised solely of independent directors. Currently, we do not plan to utilize the exemptions available for controlled companies, but will rely on the exemption available for foreign private issuers to follow our home country governance practices instead. See “—We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to U.S. domestic public companies.” If we cease to be a foreign private issuer or if we cannot rely on the home country governance practice exemption for any reason, we may decide to invoke the exemptions available for a controlled company as long as we remain a controlled company. As a result, you will not have the same protection afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all the NYSE corporate governance requirements.

If we are a passive foreign investment company for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, United States holders of our ADSs or Class A ordinary shares could be subject to adverse United States federal income tax consequences.

A non-United States corporation will be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of its gross income for such year is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (generally determined based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets) during such year is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. A separate determination must be made after the close of each taxable year as to whether a non-United States corporation is a PFIC for that year.

Based on the composition of our income and assets and the value of our assets, including goodwill (which we have determined based on the trading price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares), we do not believe we were a PFIC for the year ended December 31, 2022, although there can be no assurance in this regard.

It is possible, however, that we may become a PFIC in the current or any future taxable year due to changes in our income or asset composition or changes in the value of our assets. In this regard, the value of our assets may be determined by reference to the trading price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares, and fluctuations in the trading price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares may affect our PFIC status. Because the trading price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares has been volatile and has declined significantly over the past year, we believe there is a significant risk that we will be a PFIC for the year ended December 31, 2023 and possibly for future years.

 

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In addition, there is uncertainty as to the treatment of our corporate structure and ownership of the Group VIEs for United States federal income tax purposes. For United States federal income tax purposes, we consider ourselves to own the equity of the Group VIEs. If it is determined, contrary to our view, that we do not own the equity of the Group VIEs for United States federal income tax purposes (for instance, because the relevant PRC authorities do not respect these arrangements), we are more likely to be treated as a PFIC.

If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a United States person holds ADSs or Class A ordinary shares, certain adverse United States federal income tax consequences could apply to such United States person. For example, if we are a PFIC, our United States investors may become subject to increased tax liabilities under United States federal income tax laws and regulations and will become subject to burdensome reporting requirements. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the NYSE corporate governance listing standards; these practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with the NYSE corporate governance listing standards.

We are an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and our ADSs are listed on the NYSE. The NYSE market rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from the NYSE corporate governance listing standards.

Among other things, we are not required under the NYSE corporate governance listing standards to: (i) have a majority of the board be independent; (ii) have a compensation committee or a nominating and corporate governance committee consisting entirely of independent directors; (iii) have a minimum of three members on the audit committee; (iv) obtain shareholders’ approval for issuance of securities in certain situations; or (v) have regularly scheduled executive sessions with only independent directors each year.

We intend to rely on the first four exemptions described above unless otherwise required under the applicable laws and regulations in Hong Kong (including the Hong Kong Listing Rules) or disclosed in this annual report. As a result, you may not be provided with the benefits of certain corporate governance requirements of the NYSE.

The different characteristics of the capital markets in Hong Kong and the U.S. may negatively affect the trading prices of our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs.

We are subject to Hong Kong and the NYSE listing and regulatory requirements concurrently. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the NYSE have different trading hours, trading characteristics (including trading volume and liquidity), trading and listing rules, and investor bases (including different levels of retail and institutional participation). As a result of these differences, the trading prices of our Class A ordinary shares and our ADSs may not be the same, even allowing for currency differences. Fluctuations in the price of our ADSs due to circumstances peculiar to the U.S. capital markets could materially and adversely affect the price of our Class A ordinary shares, or vice versa. Certain events having significant negative impact specifically on the U.S. capital markets may result in a decline in the trading price of our Class A ordinary shares notwithstanding that such event may not impact the trading prices of securities listed in Hong Kong generally or to the same extent, or vice versa.

 

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Exchange between our Class A ordinary shares and our ADSs may adversely affect the liquidity and/or trading price of each other.

Our ADSs are currently traded on the NYSE and our Class A shares are currently traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Subject to compliance with U.S. securities law and the terms of the deposit agreement, holders of our Class A ordinary shares may deposit the Class A ordinary shares with the depositary in exchange for the issuance of our ADSs. Any holder of ADSs may also withdraw the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs pursuant to the terms of the deposit agreement for trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the event that a substantial number of Class A ordinary shares are deposited with the depositary in exchange for ADSs or vice versa, the liquidity and trading price of our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and our ADSs on the NYSE may be adversely affected.

The time required for the exchange between Class A ordinary shares and ADSs might be longer than expected and investors might not be able to settle or effect any sale of their securities during this period, and the exchange of Class A ordinary shares into ADSs involves costs.

There is no direct trading or settlement between the NYSE and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on which our ADSs and our Class A ordinary shares are respectively traded. In addition, the time differences between Hong Kong and New York, unforeseen market circumstances or other factors may delay the deposit of Class A ordinary shares in exchange of ADSs or the withdrawal of Class A ordinary shares underlying the ADSs. Investors will be prevented from settling or effecting the sale of their securities during such periods of delay. In addition, there is no assurance that any exchange of Class A ordinary shares into ADSs (and vice versa) will be completed in accordance with the timelines that investors may anticipate.

Furthermore, the depositary for the ADSs is entitled to charge holders fees for various services including, among others, for the issuance of ADSs upon deposit of Class A ordinary shares, cancelation of ADSs, distributions of cash dividends or other cash distributions, distributions of ADSs pursuant to share dividends or other free share distributions and distributions of securities other than ADSs. As a result, shareholders who exchange Class A ordinary shares into ADSs, and vice versa, may not achieve the level of economic return the shareholders may anticipate.

There is uncertainty as to whether Hong Kong stamp duty will apply to the trading or conversion of our ADSs.

We have established a branch register of members in Hong Kong, or the Hong Kong share register. Our Class A ordinary shares that are traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, including those that may be converted from ADSs, will be registered on the Hong Kong share register, and the trading of these shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be subject to the Hong Kong stamp duty. To facilitate ADS-ordinary share conversion and trading between the NYSE and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, we also have moved a portion of our issued Class A ordinary shares from our register of members maintained in the Cayman Islands to our Hong Kong share register.

Under the Hong Kong Stamp Duty Ordinance, any person who effects any sale or purchase of Hong Kong stock, defined as stock the transfer of which is required to be registered in Hong Kong, is required to pay Hong Kong stamp duty. The stamp duty is currently set at a total rate of 0.26% of the greater of the consideration for, or the value of, shares transferred, with 0.13% payable by each of the buyer and the seller.

To the best of our knowledge, Hong Kong stamp duty has not been levied in practice on the trading or conversion of ADSs of companies that are listed in both the United States and Hong Kong and that have maintained all or a portion of their common shares, including common shares underlying ADSs, in their Hong Kong share registers. However, it is unclear whether, as a matter of Hong Kong law, the trading or conversion of ADSs of these dual-listed companies constitutes a sale or purchase of the underlying Hong Kong-registered common shares that is subject to Hong Kong stamp duty. We advise investors to consult their own tax advisors on this matter. If Hong Kong stamp duty is determined by the competent authority to apply to the trading or conversion of our ADSs, the trading price and the value of your investment in our Class A ordinary shares and/or ADSs may be affected.

 

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Our investors may experience further dilution if we issue additional ADSs and/or Class A ordinary shares in the future.

We may consider offering and issuing additional shares or equity-related securities in the future to raise additional funds, finance acquisitions or for other purposes. Purchasers of our Class A ordinary shares may experience further dilution in terms of the net tangible asset value per share if we issue additional shares in the future at a price that is lower than the net tangible asset value per share.

You should read the entire document carefully, and we strongly caution you not to place any reliance on any information contained in press articles or other media regarding ourselves.

Prior to the publication of this annual report, there may be press and media coverage regarding us, which contained, among other things, certain financial information, projections, valuations and other forward-looking information about us. We have not authorized the disclosure of any such information in the press or media and do not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such press articles or other media coverage. We make no representation as to the appropriateness, accuracy, completeness or reliability of any of the projections, valuations or other forward-looking information about us. To the extent such statements are inconsistent with, or conflict with, the information contained in this annual report, we disclaim responsibility for them. Accordingly, prospective investors are cautioned to make their investment decisions on the basis of the information contained in this annual report and any documents incorporated by reference herein only, and should not rely on any other information.

 

ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A. History and Development of the Company

The Group began its operations in 2015 through Chengxing Zhidong, a PRC limited liability company. The Group undertook a reorganization, or the Reorganization, to facilitate its initial public offering in the United States. As part of the Reorganization, the Group incorporated XPeng Inc., an exempted company incorporated under the laws of Cayman Islands, in December 2018. Subsequently, XPeng Inc. established XPeng Limited, a limited liability company established in the British Virgin Islands. XPeng Limited then established XPeng (Hong Kong) Limited, a Hong Kong limited liability company, as its wholly owned subsidiary. XPeng (Hong Kong) Limited then established Guangdong Xiaopeng Motors Technology Co., Ltd., or Xiaopeng Motors, as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in the PRC.

As a transitional arrangement of the Reorganization, Xiaopeng Motors entered into a series of contractual agreements with Chengxing Zhidong and its shareholders in September 2019, pursuant to which Xiaopeng Motors exercised effective control over the operations of Chengxing Zhidong. In connection with the Reorganization, substantially all of the former shareholders of Chengxing Zhidong have exited from Chengxing Zhidong and obtained, by themselves or through their respective affiliates, shares of XPeng Inc. based on their respective shareholding in Chengxing Zhidong prior to the Reorganization. In May 2020, Xiaopeng Motors completed its purchase of 100% equity interest in Chengxing Zhidong. Consequently, Chengxing Zhidong became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of XPeng Inc.

In August 2020, we listed our ADSs on the NYSE under the symbol “XPEV.” In July 2021, we listed our Class A ordinary shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code “9868.”

 

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B. Business Overview

Overview

We are a leading Chinese Smart EV company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets Smart EVs that appeal to the large and growing base of middle-class consumers in China. Since inception, we have taken an innovative technology path to our envisioned future of mobility. We intend to empower consumers with our differentiated Smart EVs that can offer disruptive mobility experiences. We believe this can be achieved by fast iteration of software and seamless integration with hardware, which enable us to lead the innovation of Smart EV technologies and provide differentiated Smart EV products to consumers.

Since our inception in 2015, we have become one of the leading Smart EV companies in China, with leading software and hardware technology at our core and bringing innovation in advanced driver assistance, smart connectivity and core vehicle systems. We develop full stack advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, software in house and have deployed such software on mass-produced vehicles. In September 2022, we rolled out City NGP in Guangzhou, which can perform a wide range of driving tasks when activated with a set destination, for complex urban driving scenarios.

Our Smart EVs appeal to the large growing base of middle-class consumers in China. We primarily target the mid- to high-end segment in China’s passenger vehicle market, with prices ranging from RMB150,000 to RMB400,000. Consumers choose our products primarily because of attractive design, industry-leading electrification and smart technologies, interactive smart mobility experience and long driving range.

We are building a rapidly expanding, diversified portfolio of attractive Smart EV models to capture the growing demand for Smart EVs and appeal to the differentiated needs of a broad customer base.

 

   

In December 2018, we started delivery of the G3, which is our first Smart EV and a compact SUV.

 

   

In May 2020, we started delivery of the P7, which is our second Smart EV and a sports sedan.

 

   

In March 2021, we started delivery of the P7 Wing, which is a limited edition designed to accentuate the sporty and dynamic styling of the sports sedan with scissor-style front doors that are traditionally only available in luxury sports vehicles.

 

   

In March 2021, we introduced newer versions of the G3 and the P7 that are equipped with lithium iron phosphate battery to provide our customers with a wider variety of options.

 

   

In April 2021, we unveiled the P5, which is our third Smart EV and a family sedan, and started delivery in September 2021.

 

   

In July 2021, we introduced the G3i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the G3, and started delivery in August 2021.

 

   

In September 2022, we launched the G9, which is our fourth Smart EV and a flagship SUV, and started mass delivery in October 2022.

 

   

In March 2023, we introduced the P7i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the P7, and started delivery during the same month.

We currently offer the following models:

 

   

G3i (compact SUV), with a wheelbase of 2,625 mm and NEDC range between 460 km and 520 km.

 

   

P7 (sports sedan), with a wheelbase of 2,998 mm and NEDC/CLTC range between 480 km (NEDC) and 625 km (CLTC).

 

   

P5 (family sedan), with a wheelbase of 2,768 mm and NEDC range between 450 km and 550 km.

 

   

G9 (flagship SUV), with a wheelbase of 2,998 mm and CLTC range between 570 km and 702 km.

 

   

P7i (sports sedan), with a wheelbase of 2,998 mm and CLTC range between 610 km and 702 km.

 

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Our ADAS and in-car intelligent operating system allow customers to enjoy a differentiated smart mobility experience, and our Smart EVs can be upgraded through OTA firmware updates to introduce enhancements and new functionalities. Continuous innovation in software is one of the key factors that differentiate our Smart EVs and has become a critical value proposition appealing to customers.

We seek to expand our customer reach by extending our online and physical sales and service network. We employ an omni-channel sales model and we strive to ensure consistent brand image, customer experience and price across all sales channels. As of December 31, 2022, our physical sales network consisted of a total of 420 stores, covering 143 cities in China. In addition, we actively engage in online marketing through various channels to further enhance our brand recognition and customer acquisition.

We aim to offer our customers a convenient charging and driving experience by providing them with access to a vast, rapidly-growing charging network. Our customers can choose to charge their Smart EVs using home chargers, at XPENG self-operated charging station network or at third-party charging stations. In addition, we started to launch the 480kW supercharging stations in China in 2022. As of December 31, 2022, XPENG self-operated charging station network further expanded to 1,014 stations, including 808 XPENG self-operated supercharging stations and 206 destination charging stations.

Our manufacturing philosophy centers on quality, continuous improvement, flexibility and high operating efficiency. We manufacture the G3i, the P7, the P7i, the P5 and the G9 at our own Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant. In addition, we are constructing a new manufacturing base in Wuhan.

Our total revenues grew rapidly from RMB5,844.3 million in 2020 to RMB20,988.1 million in 2021, and further to RMB26,855.1 million in 2022. Our Smart EV deliveries increased from 27,041 units in 2020 to 98,155 units in 2021, and further to 120,757 units in 2022, representing a year-on-year growth rate of 23.0% between 2021 and 2022. Along with strong revenue growth, our gross profit margin increased from 4.6% in 2020 to 12.5% in 2021, and decreased to 11.5% in 2022.

Products

Our products include Smart EVs and advanced ADAS software system. We design, develop, manufacture and market Smart EVs, and we develop full-stack ADAS software system in-house. We design our Smart EVs to satisfy the needs and preferences of middle-class consumers in China. Priced in the mid- to high-end segment, our Smart EVs offer customers a great-to-drive and great-to-be-driven experience, as well as compelling value proposition.

G3 and G3i

Our first mass-produced Smart EV, the G3, is a compact SUV and we started to deliver the G3 in December 2018. Since its launch, we have continuously upgraded the G3 to improve its performance. In July 2021, we introduced the G3i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the G3, and started delivery in August 2021.

P7 and P7i

Our second mass-produced Smart EV, the P7, is a four-door sports sedan. As our flagship model, the P7 is expected to continue to reinforce our position as a leading Smart EV brand. We started the production of the P7 and began delivery in May 2020. In November 2020, we unveiled the P7 Wing, a limited edition designed to maximize the sporty and dynamic style of the sports sedan with a pair of specifically-designed scissor-style front doors, which are traditionally only available in luxury sports vehicles. We started the delivery of the P7 Wing in March 2021.

In March 2023, we introduced and started delivering the P7i, which is the mid-cycle facelift version of the P7.

 

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P5

In April 2021, we unveiled the P5, which is our third Smart EV and a family sedan, and started delivery in September 2021. We have deployed LIDAR technology to further enhance the perception capability of the P5, which we believe was the world’s first mass-produced Smart EV equipped with LIDAR.

In September 2022, City NGP debuted in Guangzhou, where customers with premium version of the P5 can access City NGP through OTA updates.

G9

In September 2022, we launched the G9, which is our fourth Smart EV and a flagship SUV, and started mass delivery in October 2022.

Featuring our latest powertrain system using 800V high-voltage Silicon Carbide (SiC) platform, the G9 demonstrates greater energy consumption efficiency and charging efficiency compared to other EVs built on a 400V platform. The Max version of G9 can support our next-generation ADAS, XNGP, by which we intend to offer advanced driver assistance in the full spectrum of driving scenarios from highways and carparks to complex city roads.

Plans to Launch New Models

We plan to continuously introduce new models and facelifts to expand our product portfolio and customer base. We have invested in three powerful EV vehicle platforms over the past few years, including our fully established E-platform and our third-generation F-platform and H-platform, both of which are expected to be mass produced in 2023.

Advanced ADAS Software

We rolled out our advanced ADAS software, XPILOT 3.0, through OTA firmware update, in January 2021. XPILOT 3.0 can support navigation guided pilot, or NGP, for highway driving and advanced automated parking.

In September 2022, we rolled out City NGP in Guangzhou, a high-level ADAS function, to perform a wide range of driving tasks for complex urban driving scenarios.

Smart EV Deliveries

The following table sets forth the number of our vehicles delivered to customers in the periods indicated:

 

   

For the three months ended

   

March 31,

2020

 

June 30,

2020

 

September 30,

2020

 

December 31,

2020

 

March 31,

2021

 

June 30,

2021

 

September 30,

2021

 

December 31,

2021

 

March 31,

2022

 

June 30,

2022

 

September 30,

2022

 

December 31,

2022

Total

  2,271   3,228   8,578   12,964   13,340   17,398   25,666   41,751   34,561   34,422   29,570   22,204
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Technologies

We develop most of our key technologies in-house to achieve a rapid pace of innovation and tailor our product offerings for consumers. By developing our proprietary software and hardware technologies, we are able to retain better control over the performance and experience of our Smart EVs and have the flexibility to continuously upgrade them.

 

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Our ADAS

Our proprietary ADAS, is customized for driving behavior and road conditions in China. Since inception, we have dedicated significant research and development efforts in ADAS technology, which we believe is a key element for the Smart EV experience. Our research and development capabilities enable us to continuously improve our ADAS and achieve fast system iterations.

We rolled out NGP for highway driving and advanced automated parking, or the Valet Parking Assist, each of which is a function of our proprietary XPILOT 3.0, through OTA firmware updates in January 2021 and June 2021, respectively.

The NGP for highway driving is capable of autonomously changing lanes, overtaking other vehicles, recognizing traffic signs and construction signs, as well as adjusting speed. It also enables a vehicle to autonomously enter and exit a highway system, as well as switch from one highway to another.

The Valet Parking Assist, the advanced automated parking function of XPILOT 3.0, can memorize the locations and layouts of the parking lots that a driver frequently uses. Based on such information, the function enables the ADAS of a vehicle from the entrance of a parking lot to a memorized parking space, followed by the automated parking of the vehicle into such space.

We rolled out City NGP in Guangzhou in 2022 for complex urban driving scenarios. When City NGP is activated with a set destination, the vehicle itself can perform a wide range of driving tasks such as cruising, changing lanes, getting around stationary vehicles or obstacles, and navigate through intersections.

City NGP boasts the industry leading ADAS platform, featuring a multi-modality sensor fusion framework with cameras, LIDAR units, millimeter-wave radars, high-precision positioning units and other sensor hardware to offer a 360-degree fusion perception. Building on such advanced sensor fusion capability, we also introduced an enhanced Surrounding Reality (SR) display, capable of visualizing a vehicle’s surrounding objects and projecting them in 3D, together with high-definition map information, on both the digital dashboard and central panel in real-time.

At our fourth annual 1024 Tech Day, October 24, 2022, we revealed our next-generation ADAS, XNGP, by which we intend to offer advanced driver assistance in the full spectrum of driving scenarios from highways and carparks to complex city roads.

Powertrain

Powertrain plays a critical role in our ability to deliver safe and high-performance EVs at competitive prices. Our Smart EV’s powertrain consists of the battery system, electric drive system, high voltage system and vehicle control unit, or VCU. Leveraging our superior in-house research and development capabilities, we are able to differentiate our Smart EVs in key powertrain features, such as charging efficiency, battery safety, range, noise, drivability and digitization. The powertrain’s ECUs are amenable to OTA firmware updates, which enable us to improve the powertrain’s functions and customer experience after delivery.

Our Smart EVs’ battery system utilizes high-energy density battery cells, which are packed into modules and fastened to a high-strength aluminum frame. We utilize lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, or NCM, cells and LFP cells for our batteries. Through our research and development efforts, we seek to enhance the energy density of the battery pack and reduce its cost, while also maintaining its safety, reliability and longevity.

 

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We rolled out our next powertrain system using 800V high-voltage Silicon Carbide (SiC) platform on the G9 and intend to adopt such a powertrain system on new models in our future product roadmap. As a result, the G9 demonstrated greater energy consumption efficiency and charging efficiency compared to other EVs built on a 400V platform. Going forward, we intend to leverage a growing suite of electrification technology innovations to improve our Smart EVs’ range, charging speed and costs.

Sales and Marketing

We employ an omni-channel sales model and we seek to cost-efficiently expand our customer reach and grow sales, while delivering a consistent brand image, customer experience and price across all channels.

We had a total of 420 stores, covering 143 cities in China as of December 31, 2022. Stores in our sales network include both stores directly operated by us and franchised stores. We offer a consistent brand image, customer experience and price across our direct stores and franchised stores.

While currently we primarily sell products and services in China’s market, we also made positive progress in overseas markets. In December 2020, the first batch of the European version of the G3 was delivered to customers in Norway. In August 2021, we started the deliveries of the P7 to the European market. In 2022, we opened our self-operated stores in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. In February 2023, we launched the G9 flagship SUV and the new P7 sports sedan for Europe.

Comprehensive Services

We offer our customers a comprehensive suite of charging solutions and after-sales services, as well as various value-added services. These services offer our customers a convenient experience and enable full lifecycle engagement with our customers, which in turn improves their loyalty.

Charging Solutions

We aim to offer our customers a convenient charging experience by giving them access to a wide and expanding charging network in a cost-efficient manner. Our customers can choose to charge their EVs by home chargers, XPENG self-operated charging station network, or third-party charging stations. We will continue to expand the XPENG self-operated charging station network coverage, to provide greater accessibility and enhanced charging experience to our customers.

In September 2022, we launched seven 480kW supercharging stations in five cities in China, which significantly shortened the charging time for our customers with the G9, which is equipped with 800V high-voltage platform. As of December 31, 2022, XPENG self-operated charging station network further expanded to 1,014 stations, including 808 XPENG self-operated supercharging stations and 206 destination charging stations. We are one of few EV companies that have established self-operated charging networks in China, and we will continue to strategically expand the network of our XPENG self-operated charging stations to better serve our customers.

After-Sales Services and Warranty

We provide efficient after-sales services both offline and online. Offline services are available at our service centers and cover repairs and maintenance for our Smart EVs. We also provide online after-sales services, which are enabled by our cloud capabilities and high-speed connectivity of our Smart EVs. Our system is able to monitor vehicle performance status in real time, remotely diagnose certain vehicle malfunctions and potential issues and recommend solutions to prevent problems. Certain software-related issues can be resolved remotely through OTA updates. In addition, we have developed an intelligent remote diagnosis system, which detects potential system error before it occurs to ensure vehicle safety. We also offer competitive warranty terms for our Smart EVs.

 

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Other Services

We also offer the following services.

 

   

Insurance technology support. We assist insurance companies by providing technology to connect and help our customers to obtain automotive insurances. To offer a convenient experience, we leverage some intelligent functions with patented technology to help customers to quickly make insurance claims.

 

   

Automotive loan referral and auto financing. We cooperate with banks and connect them with customers who seek automotive financing solutions. To complement the banks’ services, we also offer auto financing to our customers through a wholly-owned subsidiary. Such auto financing program is treated as an installment payment program for accounting purposes and the Group records the relevant installment payment receivables on its balance sheets.

Manufacturing

Our manufacturing philosophy centers on quality, continuous improvement, flexibility and high operating efficiency. We take a lean production approach, with the aim of continuous optimization in operating efficiency and product quality. We manufacture the G3i, the P7 and the P7i, the P5 and the G9 at our own Zhaoqing plant and Guangzhou plant. In addition, we are constructing a new manufacturing base in Wuhan.

We historically produced the G3 through a contract manufacturing collaboration with Haima Automobile Co., Ltd, or Haima, in Zhengzhou, Henan province. We ceased the contract manufacturing arrangement with Haima in December 2021.

Data Privacy and Security

We are committed to complying with applicable data protection laws and protecting the security of personal data. We mainly collect and store data relating to the usage of the ADAS system, infotainment system, as well as data collected through our sales and services channels. Such data primarily includes, among others, name, contact information and payment information. In addition, we also collect vehicle data of our Smart EVs, including, among others, vehicle condition, location information, assisted driving information, charging status, maintenance status, as well as information of the in-car infotainment system, such as information relating to smart voice assistant, smart navigation, music, data traffic and third-party apps. Such data is collected in accordance with applicable data protection laws and regulations. Our privacy policy, which is provided to every customer, describes our data processing activities. Specifically, we undertake to manage and use the data collected from customers in accordance with applicable laws and make reasonable efforts to prevent unauthorized use, loss, or leakage of customer data and will not disclose sensitive customer data to any third party without appropriate and necessary business needs, except under legal requirement or certain circumstances specified in the customer consent. We implement data security measures, for instance, access control and identity verification. We strictly limit and monitor employee access to customer personal data. We provide data privacy and information security training to these employees and require them to report any information security breach. Our business partners may have access to the data collected within the scope of their service. We take various measures, such as entering into separate confidentiality agreements or data protection agreements with our business partners, adopting necessary data security measures such as encryption, to protect such data.

 

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We use a variety of technologies to protect the data with which we are entrusted. For example, we segregate our internal databases and operating systems from our external-facing services and intercept unauthorized access. We anonymize personal data by removing personally identifiable information, when such information is not relevant to our business. We encrypt personal data in transit, using sophisticated security protocols to ensure the integrity and confidentiality. We back up our personal data and operating data on a regular basis in separate back-up systems to minimize the risk of customer data loss or leakage. Whenever an issue related to data privacy is discovered, we take prompt actions to upgrade our system and mitigate any potential problems that may undermine the security of our system. We also have a dedicated privacy and security team and a Data Protection Officer responsible for data protection. We believe our policies and practice with respect to data privacy and security are in compliance with applicable laws and prevalent industry practice.

Competition

We have strategically focused on offering Smart EVs for the mid- to high-end segment of China’s passenger vehicle market. We directly compete with other pure-play EV companies, especially those targeting the mid- to high-end segment. To a lesser extent, our Smart EVs also compete with ICE vehicles in the mid- to high-end segment offered by traditional OEMs. Furthermore, traditional OEMs that have strong brand recognition, substantial financial resources, sophisticated engineering capabilities and established sales channels may shift their focus towards the EV market in the future. We believe that our competitive advantage over existing and potential competitors lies in our innovative product offerings localized for consumers in China, ability to offer a great-to-drive and great-to-be-driven experience, robust software and hardware technologies, scalable and efficient platforms and our winning Smart EV team.

Intellectual Property

We have developed a number of proprietary systems and technologies, and our success depends on our ability to protect our core technology and intellectual property. We utilize a combination of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and confidentiality policies to protect our proprietary rights.

Employees

As of December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, we had a total of 5,084, 13,978 and 15,829 employees, respectively. The following table sets forth a breakdown of our employees categorized by function as of December 31, 2022.

 

Function            Number of Employees                        Percentage to Total            

Research and development

     6,313        39.9%  

Sales and marketing

     6,316        39.9%  

Manufacturing

     2,647        16.7%  

General and administration

     87        0.6%  

Operation

     466        2.9%  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     15,829        100%  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2022, 15,516 of our employees were based in mainland China or Hong Kong, and 313 of our employees were based overseas.

We believe we offer our employees competitive compensation packages and a dynamic work environment that encourages initiative and is based on merit. As a result, we have been able to attract and retain talented personnel and maintain a stable core management team.

As required by PRC regulations, we participate in various government statutory employee benefit plans, including social insurance, namely pension insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance, and housing funds. We are required under PRC law to make contributions to employee benefit plans at specified percentages of the salaries, bonuses and certain allowances of our employees, up to a maximum amount specified by the local government regulations from time to time. In addition, we purchased employer’s liability insurance and additional commercial health insurance to increase insurance coverage of our employees. Historically, we have offered and sold units of the G3, the P7 and the P5 to employees at discounts and delivered a small number to employees prior to mass deliveries. We enter into standard labor, confidentiality and non-compete agreements with our employees. The non-compete restricted period typically expires within two years after the termination of employment, and we agree to compensate the employee with a certain percentage of his or her pre-departure salary during the restricted period.

 

 

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We believe that we maintain a good working relationship with our employees, and we have not experienced any major labor disputes.

Facilities

We own land use rights with respect to a parcel of land of over 600,000 square meters in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, and such land use rights expire in 2067. We have constructed our Zhaoqing plant on this parcel of land, and the plant has an approved construction area of 211,109 square meters. We purchased land use rights with respect to an additional parcel of land of over 370,000 square meters in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, and such land use rights expire in 2070. We also own land use rights with respect to a parcel of land of over 63,000 square meters in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, and such land use rights expire in 2070. We have constructed our manufacturing facility, which conducts trial production and manufactures charging solutions and electric drive system, on this parcel of land, and the plant has a construction area of 61,677 square meters. We also own land use rights with respect to a parcel of land of over 980,000 square meters in Wuhan, Hubei Province, and such land use rights expire in 2072. We have commenced the construction of a new manufacturing base on this parcel of land in July 2021.

We also maintain a number of leased properties. Our Guangzhou plant is located in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, where we lease over 375,000 square meters of land with 220,000 square meters of construction area. Our corporate headquarters is located in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, where we lease 74,216 square meters of properties primarily for corporate administration, research and development, trial production and testing. In addition, we lease a number of properities in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen as well as in Silicon Valley and San Diego in the United States, primarily for research and development and sales and marketing. We also lease a number of facilities for our direct stores, self-operated charging stations and logistics centers across China and several flexible workspaces or co-working spaces in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway Sweden and Germany.

We intend to add new facilities or expand our existing facilities as we scale up our business operation. We believe that suitable additional or alternative space will be available in the future on commercially reasonable terms to accommodate our foreseeable future expansion.

Insurance

We maintain property insurance, fire insurance, public liability insurance, employer’s liability insurance and driver’s liability insurance. Pursuant to PRC regulations, we provide social insurance including pension insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and medical insurance for our employees based in China. We also purchase additional commercial health insurance to increase insurance coverage of our employees. We do not maintain business interruption insurance or key-man insurance. We believe that our insurance coverage is in line with the industry and adequate to cover our key assets, facilities and liabilities.

Legal Proceedings

We are currently not a party to any material legal or administrative proceedings. We may from time to time be subject to various legal or administrative claims and proceedings arising from the ordinary course of business. Litigation or any other legal or administrative proceeding, regardless of the outcome, is likely to result in substantial cost and diversion of our resources, including our management’s time and attention.

 

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Regulation

This section sets forth a summary of the most significant rules and regulations that affect our business activities in China or the rights of our shareholders to receive dividends and other distributions from us.

PRC Permissions and Approvals

We have obtained all requisite permissions and approvals that are material to the Group’s operations in China as of the date hereof, including Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy Investment Co., Ltd., or Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy, and our Smart EVs (the G3i, the P5, the P7 and the G9) being listed in Announcement of the Vehicle Manufacturers and Products issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PRC, or the MIIT, which is the entry approval for Zhaoqing Xiaopeng New Energy to become a qualified manufacturer of EVs and Smart EVs and for the manufacturing and sales of our Smart EVs (the G3i, the P5, the P7 and the G9). Given the significant amount of discretion held by local PRC authorities in interpreting, implementing and enforcing relevant rules and regulations, as well as other factors beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we have obtained or will be able to obtain and maintain all requisite licenses, permits, filings and registrations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors-Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Certain of our operating subsidiaries may be required to obtain additional licenses or permits or make additional filings or registrations.”

Furthermore, the PRC authorities have recently promulgated new or proposed laws and regulations to further regulate securities offerings that are conducted overseas by China-based issuers. For more detailed information, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—Business Overview—Regulations—regulations on M&A Rules and Overseas Listings” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—Business Overview—Regulations—Regulation Related to Internet Security and Privacy Protection”. According to these new laws and regulations and the draft laws and regulations, if enacted in their current forms, in connection with our future offshore offering activities, we may be required to fulfill filing, reporting procedures with or obtain approval from the CSRC, and may be required to go through cybersecurity review by the PRC authorities. However, we cannot assure you that we can obtain the required approval or accomplish the required filing or other regulatory procedures in a timely manner, or at all. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Actual or alleged failure to comply with laws, regulations, rules, policies and other obligations regarding privacy, data protection, cybersecurity and information security could subject us to significant reputational, financial, legal and operational consequences,” “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Changes and developments in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws, rules and regulations may subject us to uncertainties.” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risks Factors—Risks Relating to Our Corporate Structure—Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law and its implementing rules and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

Regulation Related to Foreign Investment

The establishment, operation and management of companies in China are mainly governed by the PRC Company Law, as most recently amended in 2018, which applies to both PRC domestic companies and foreign-invested companies. On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, and on December 26, 2019, the State Council promulgated the Implementing Rules of the Foreign Investment Law, or the Implementing Rules, to further clarify and elaborate the relevant provisions of the Foreign Investment Law. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules both took effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced three previous major laws on foreign investments in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Law and the Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprise Law, together with their respective implementing rules. Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investments” refer to investment activities conducted by foreign investors (including foreign natural persons, foreign enterprises or other foreign organizations) directly or indirectly in the PRC, which include any of the following circumstances: (i) foreign investors setting up foreign-invested enterprises in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, (ii) foreign investors obtaining shares, equity interests, property portions or other similar rights and interests of enterprises within the PRC, (iii) foreign investors investing in new projects in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, and (iv) investment in other methods as specified in laws, administrative regulations, or as stipulated by the State Council. The Implementing Rules introduce a see-through principle and further provide that foreign-invested enterprises that invest in the PRC shall also be governed by the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules.

 

 

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The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules provide that a system of pre-entry national treatment and negative list shall be applied for the administration of foreign investment, where “pre-entry national treatment” means that the treatment given to foreign investors and their investments at market entry stage is no less favorable than that given to domestic investors and their investments, and “negative list” means the special administrative measures for foreign investment’s entry to specific fields or industries. Foreign investments beyond the negative list will be granted national treatment. Foreign investors shall not invest in the prohibited fields as specified in the negative list, and foreign investors who invest in the restricted fields shall comply with certain special requirements on shareholding and senior management personnel, etc. In the meantime, relevant competent government departments will formulate a catalogue of the specific industries, fields and regions in which foreign investors are encouraged and guided to invest according to the national economic and social development needs. The current industry entry clearance requirements governing investment activities in the PRC by foreign investors are set out in two categories, namely The Special Management Measures for the Entry of Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2021 version), or the 2021 Foreign Investment Negative List, as promulgated on December 27, 2021 by the National Development and Reform Commission, or the NDRC, and the Ministry of Commerce, or the MOFCOM, and taking effect from January 1,2022, and the Encouraged Industry Catalogue for Foreign Investment (2022 version), as promulgated by the NDRC and the MOFCOM on October 26, 2022 and taking effect on January 1, 2023. Industries not listed in these two catalogues are generally deemed “permitted” for foreign investment unless specifically restricted by other PRC laws.

According to the Implementing Rules, the registration of foreign-invested enterprises shall be handled by the State Administration for Market Regulation, or the SAMR, or its authorized local counterparts. Where a foreign investor invests in an industry or field subject to licensing in accordance with laws, the relevant competent government department responsible for granting such license shall review the license application of the foreign investor in accordance with the same conditions and procedures applicable to PRC domestic investors unless it is stipulated otherwise by the laws and administrative regulations, and the competent government department shall not impose discriminatory requirements on the foreign investor in terms of licensing conditions, application materials, reviewing steps and deadlines, etc.

Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules, and the Information Reporting Measures for Foreign Investment jointly promulgated by the MOFCOM and the SAMR, which took effect on January 1, 2020, a foreign investment information reporting system has been established and foreign investors or foreign-invested enterprises shall report investment information to competent commerce departments of the government through the enterprise registration system and the national enterprise credit information publicity system, and the administration for market regulation shall forward the above investment information to the competent commerce departments in a timely manner.

Regulation Related to Manufacturing New Energy Passenger Vehicles

Under the PRC laws, a newly-established manufacturer of new energy passenger vehicles shall first complete the filings with the competent local counterpart of the NDRC, and thereafter obtain the entry approvals from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT, for itself and the new energy passenger vehicles to be manufactured by them.

 

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On June 2, 2015, the NDRC and the MIIT promulgated the Administrative Measures for Newly-established Manufacturers of Pure Electric Passenger Vehicles, or Circular 27, which took effect on July 10, 2015. According to Circular 27, a newly-established manufacturer for pure electric passenger vehicles shall satisfy specific requirements including, among others, having complete vehicle research and development capabilities, power systems and other necessary technologies, and shall obtain the NDRC approval with respect to the project investments in manufacturing the pure electric passenger vehicles. According to the Administrative Measures for Investment in Automobile Industry, which was subsequently promulgated by the NDRC on December 10, 2018 and took effect on January 10, 2019, the projects in relation to newly-established manufacturer for pure electric passenger vehicles shall be filed with the competent provincial counterpart of the NDRC, which supersedes the requirement of obtaining the approval from the NDRC under Circular 27.

In addition, according to the Administrative Measures for the Entry of Manufacturers of New Energy Passenger Vehicles and the Products promulgated by the MIIT on January 6, 2017, which took effect on July 1, 2017 and last amended on July 24, 2020, or Circular 39, the MIIT is responsible for the national-wide administration of new energy vehicles and their manufacturers. The manufacturers shall apply to the MIIT for the entry approval to become a qualified manufacturer in China and shall further apply to the MIIT for the entry approval for the new energy passenger vehicles before commencing the manufacturing and sale of the new energy passenger vehicles in China. Both of the new energy passenger vehicles and their manufacturers will be listed in the Announcement of the Vehicle Manufacturers and Products issued by the MIIT from time to time, or the Manufacturers and Products Announcement, if they have obtained the entry approval from the MIIT.

Furthermore, to obtain the entry approvals from the MIIT, the manufacturers shall meet certain requirements, including, among others, having obtained the approvals or completed the filings with the NDRC in relation to the project investments in manufacturing the electric vehicles, having capabilities in the design, development and manufacture of automotive products, ensuring product consistency, providing after-sales service and product safety assurance, and the new energy vehicles shall meet the technical criteria contained in Circular 39 and other safety and technical requirements specified by the MIIT and pass the inspections conducted by the relevant state-recognized testing institutions. Any manufacturer manufacturing the new energy vehicles without obtaining the entry approval or selling new energy vehicles not listed in the Manufacturers and Products Announcement may be subject to penalties including fines, forfeiture of illegally manufactured and sold vehicles and spare parts and revocation of its business licenses.

Regulation Related to Compulsory Product Certification

According to the Administrative Regulations on Compulsory Product Certification as promulgated by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, or the QSIQ, which was merged into the SAMR afterwards, on July 3, 2009 and became effective on September 1, 2009 and the List of the First Batch of Products Subject to Compulsory Product Certification as promulgated by the QSIQ in association with the State Certification and Accreditation Administration Committee, or the CAA on December 3, 2001, and became effective on the same day, QSIQ are responsible for the quality certification of automobiles. Automobiles and the relevant accessories must not be sold, exported or used in operating activities until they are certified by certification authorities designated by CAA as qualified products and granted certification marks.

Regulation Related to Government Subsidies and Exemption of Vehicle Purchase Tax for Purchasing New Energy Vehicles

On April 22, 2015, the Ministry of Finance, or the MOF, the Ministry of Science and Technology, or the MOST, the MIIT and the NDRC jointly promulgated the Circular on Financial Subsidies on the Promotion and Application of New Energy Vehicles from 2016 to 2020, or the NEV Financial Subsidies Circular, which took effect on the same day. The NEV Financial Subsidies Circular provides that those who purchase new energy vehicles specified in the Catalogue of Recommended New Energy Vehicle Models for Promotion and Application issued by the MIIT, or the Recommended NEV Catalogue, may enjoy government subsidies. A purchaser may purchase a new energy vehicle from a manufacturer by paying the price deducted by the subsidy amount, and the manufacturer may obtain the subsidy amount from the PRC central government after such new energy vehicle is sold to the purchaser. Our products, the G3 and the P7, are eligible for such subsidies. Furthermore, a preliminary phase-out schedule for the provision of subsidies during the period from 2016 to 2020 contained in NEV Financial Subsidies Circular specifies that the subsidy amount per vehicle, or subsidy criteria, for the year 2017 to 2018 will be reduced by 20% compared to that of the year 2016, and the subsidy criteria for the year 2019 to 2020 will be reduced by 40% compared to that of the year 2016.

 

 

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On December 29, 2016, the MOF, the MOST, the MIIT and NDRC jointly promulgated the Circular on Adjusting the Subsidy Policies on Promotion and Application of New Energy Vehicles, or the Circular on Adjusting the NEV Subsidy Policies, which became effect on January 1, 2017, to enhance the technical requirements and adjust the subsidy criteria of qualified new energy vehicles in the Recommended NEV Catalogue. The Circular on Adjusting the NEV Subsidy Policies caps the subsidy amount from the local governments at 50% of the subsidy amount from the central government, and further specifies that national and local subsidies for purchasers purchasing new energy vehicles (except for fuel cell vehicles) from 2019 to 2020 will be reduced by 20% as compared to the then-existing subsidy standards. The MOF, the MOST, the MIIT and the NDRC promulgated a series of circulars in 2018 and 2019 to further adjust the technical requirements and subsidy criteria of new energy vehicles eligible for government subsidies.

On April 23, 2020, the MOF, the MOST, the MIIT and the NDRC jointly issued the Circular on Improving Subsidy Policies on Promotion and Application of New Energy Vehicles, which took effect on the same day, or the 2020 NEV Financial Subsidies Circular, which extends the implementation period of financial subsidy policy for new energy vehicles to the end of 2022. The 2020 NEV Financial Subsidies Circular further specifies that the subsidy criteria for new energy vehicles during the period from year 2020 to 2022 will generally be reduced by 10%, 20% and 30% compared to the subsidy standard of the previous year respectively, and the number of vehicles eligible for the subsidies will not exceed approximately two million each year. Furthermore, on December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2021, the abovementioned authorities further promulgated another two similar circulars to reiterate the principles including among others, the subsidy criteria reduction rate as stipulated in the 2020 NEV Financial Subsidies Circular.

On December 26, 2017, the MOF, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, the MIIT and the MOST jointly issued the Announcement on Exemption of Vehicle Purchase Tax for New Energy Vehicle, or the Announcement on Exemption of Vehicle Purchase Tax, pursuant to which, from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020, the vehicle purchase tax is not imposed on purchases of qualified new energy vehicles listed in the Catalogue of New Energy Vehicle Models Exempted from Vehicle Purchase Tax jointly issued by MIIT and the SAT. On April 16, 2020, the MOF, the SAT and the MIIT further promulgated the Announcement on Relevant Policies for the Exemption of Vehicle Purchase Tax for New Energy Vehicles, which took effect on January 1, 2021, and further extended the exemption period for the vehicle purchase tax of new energy vehicles to December 31, 2022. Furthermore, on September 18, 2022, the MOF, the SAT and the MIIT stipulated the Announcement on Continuation for the Exemption of Vehicle Purchase Tax for New Energy Vehicles, which continues to extend the exemption period for the vehicle purchase tax for new energy vehicles to December 31, 2023.

Regulation Related to Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Pursuant to the Guiding Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Accelerating the Promotion and Application of the New Energy Vehicles which took effect on July 14, 2014, the Guiding Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Accelerating the Construction of Charging Infrastructure of the Electric Vehicle which took effect on September 29, 2015 and the Guidance on the Development of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (2015-2020) which took effect on October 9, 2015, the PRC government encourages the construction and development of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, such as charging stations and battery swap stations, and requires relevant local authorities to adopt simplified construction approval procedures and expedite the approval process. In particular, only newly-built centralized charging and battery replacement power stations with independent land occupation are required to obtain the construction approvals and permits from the relevant authorities. Government guidance price should be implemented in managing the rate of the charging service fees before the year 2020. The Circular on Accelerating the Development of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Residential Areas jointly promulgated by the NDRC, the National Energy Administration, the MIIT and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on July 25, 2016 provides that charging infrastructures in residential areas should be covered by product liability insurance policies and charging safety liability insurance policies, and operators of electric vehicle charging and battery swap infrastructure facilities are required to be covered under safety liability insurance policies. Furthermore, on January 10, 2022, the NDRC, together with other competent government authorities, promulgated the Implementation Opinions on Further Improving the Service Guarantee Capability of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, targeting to further strengthen the electric vehicle charging infrastructure’s capacity by optimizing the construction of urban public charging network and accelerating the effective coverage of the fast charging facilities on the highways.

 

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In addition, various local governmental authorities have implemented measures to encourage the construction and development of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. For instance, on April 3, 2020, the Municipal Bureau of Industry and Information Technology of Guangzhou promulgated the Circular on Measures of Promoting Automobile Production and Consumption of Guangzhou, which took effect on the same day and will remain effective until December 31, 2020, aiming, among other things, to promote the construction of ancillary facilities of the new energy vehicles, including the charging facilities in areas such as public carparks and industry parks.

Regulations Relating to Parallel Credits Policy on Vehicle Manufacturers and Importers

On September 27, 2017, the MIIT, the MOF, the MOFCOM, the General Administration of Customs and the QSIQ jointly promulgated the Measures for the Parallel Administration of the Corporate Average Fuel Consumption and New Energy Vehicle Credits of Passenger Vehicle Enterprise, which were last amended on June 15, 2020 and took effective on January 1, 2021. Pursuant to the measures, the vehicle manufacturers and vehicle importers above a certain scale are required to maintain their new energy vehicles credits, or NEV credits, above zero. The NEV credits equal to the aggregate actual scores of a vehicle manufacturer or a vehicle importer minus its aggregate targeted scores calculated in a manner as stipulated under the measures. Excess positive NEV credits are tradable and may be sold to other enterprises through a credit management system established by the MIIT. Negative NEV credits can be offset by purchasing excess positive NEV credits from other manufacturers or importers.

According to these measures, the requirements on the NEV credits shall be considered for the entry approval of passenger vehicle manufacturers and products by the regulators. If a passenger vehicle enterprise fails to offset its negative credits, its new products which fuel consumption does not reach the target fuel consumption value for a certain vehicle models as specified in the Evaluation Methods and Indicators for the Fuel Consumption of Passenger Vehicles will not be listed in the Manufacturers and Products Announcement or will not be granted the compulsory product certification, and the vehicle enterprises may be subject to penalties according to the relevant rules and regulations.

Regulation Related to Automobile Sales and Consumer Rights Protection

Pursuant to the Product Quality Law of the PRC promulgated on February 22, 1993 and most recently amended on December 29, 2018, a manufacturer is prohibited from producing or selling products that do not meet applicable standards and requirements for safeguarding human health and ensuring human and property safety. Products must be free from unreasonable dangers threatening human and property safety. Where a defective product causes physical injury to a person or property damage, the aggrieved party may make a claim for compensation from the producer or the seller of the product. Producers and sellers of non-compliant products may be ordered to cease the production or sale of the products and may be subject to confiscation of the products and fines. Earnings from sales in contravention of such standards or requirements may also be confiscated, and in severe cases, the violator’s business license may be revoked. Pursuant to the Regulations on the Administration of Recall of Defective Automobile Products, which was issued by the State Council on October 22, 2012 and amended on March 2, 2019, together with the relevant implementing measures as issued by the SAMR, or the Recall Regulations, manufacturers shall recall all defective automobiles in accordance with requirements contained therein; otherwise, the product quality supervision department of the State Council shall order manufacturers to recall accordingly. On November 25, 2020, the SAMR issued a Circular on Further Strengthening the Regulation of Recall of Automobile with Over-The-Air (OTA) Technology, or the OTA Recall Circular, pursuant to which automobile manufacturers that provide technical services to sold automobiles through OTA technology are required to complete filings with the SAMR in accordance with the Recall Regulations, and for technical services through OTA implemented from January 1, 2020 to the date of issuance of the OTA Recall Circular, the automobile manufacturers shall make supplementary filings with the SAMR before December 31, 2020. In addition, if an automobile manufacturer uses OTA technology to eliminate defects and recalls its defective products, it shall make a recall plan and complete a filing with the SAMR in accordance with the Recall Regulations.

 

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According to the Administrative Measures on Automobile Sales promulgated by the MOFCOM on April 5, 2017, which took effect on July 1, 2017, automobile suppliers and dealers shall sell automobiles, spare parts and other related products that are in compliance with relevant provisions and standards of the state, and the dealers shall, in an appropriate manner, expressly indicate the prices of automobiles, spare parts and other related products as well as the rates of charges for various services on their business premises, and shall not sell products at higher prices or charge other fees without express indication. Automobile suppliers and dealers are required to file the basic information through the information management system for the national automobile circulation operated by the competent commerce department of the State Council within 90 days after the receipt of a business license. Where there is any change to the filed information, automobile suppliers and dealers must update such information within 30 days upon such change.

Furthermore, the Consumer Rights and Interests Protection Law, as promulgated on October 31, 1993 and most recently amended in 2013 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, or the SCNPC, imposes stringent requirements and obligations on business operators. Failure to comply with the consumer protection requirements could subject the business operators to administrative penalties including warning, confiscation of illegal income, imposition of fines, an order to cease business operations, revocation of business licenses, as well as potential civil or criminal liabilities.

Regulation Related to Value-added Telecommunications Services

Among all of the applicable laws and regulations, the PRC Telecommunications Regulations, or the Telecom Regulations, promulgated by the PRC State Council in September 25, 2000 and most recently amended on February 6, 2016, is the primary governing law, and sets out the general framework for the provision of telecommunications services by domestic PRC companies. Under the Telecom Regulations, telecommunications service providers are required to procure operating licenses prior to their commencement of operations. The Telecom Regulations distinguish “basic telecommunications services” from “value-added telecommunications services”, or “VATS”. VATS are defined as telecommunications and information services provided through public networks. A telecom catalogue was issued as an attachment to the Telecom Regulations to categorize telecommunications services as either basic or value-added, which was most recently updated in June 2019.

The Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses promulgated by the MIIT in 2009 and most recently amended in July 2017, set forth more specific provisions regarding the types of licenses required to operate VATS, the qualifications and procedures for obtaining such licenses and the administration and supervision of such licenses. Under these regulations, a commercial operator of VATS must first obtain a VATS License from the MIIT or its provincial level counterparts, otherwise such operator might be subject to sanctions including corrective orders from the competent administration authority, fines and confiscation of illegal gains and, in the case of significant infringements, the websites may be ordered to close.

In addition, pursuant to the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services promulgated by the State Council in 2000 and amended in 2011, “internet information services” refer to the provision of information through the internet to online users, and are divided into “commercial internet information services” and “non-commercial internet information services”. A provider of commercial internet information service must obtain the VATS License for internet information service. If the operator provides internet information on a non-commercial basis, it only needs to file the relevant information with the provincial Communication Administration.

 

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According to the 2021 Foreign Investment Negative List and the Administrative Regulations on Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, which were most recently amended by the State Council on April 7, 2022 and took effect on May 1, 2022 and replaced the previous version afterwards, as for the telecommunications businesses open for foreign investment according to China’s WTO commitment, except as otherwise stipulated by the state, the equity interest of foreign investors in the value-added telecommunications enterprises shall not exceed 50%.

In 2006, the predecessor to the MIIT issued the Circular of the Ministry of Information Industry on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in Value-added Telecommunications Business, according to which a foreign investor in the telecommunications service industry of China must establish a foreign-invested enterprise and apply for a telecommunications business operation license. This circular further requires that: (i) PRC domestic telecommunications business enterprises must not lease, transfer or sell a telecommunications business operation license to a foreign investor through any form of transaction or provide resources, offices and working places, facilities or other assistance to support the illegal telecommunications service operations of a foreign investor; (ii) value-added telecommunications enterprises or their shareholders must directly own the domain names and trademarks used by such enterprises in their daily operations; (iii) each value-added telecommunications enterprise must have the necessary facilities for its approved business operations and maintain such facilities in the regions covered by its license; and (iv) value-added telecommunications enterprises are required to maintain network and internet security in accordance with the standards set forth in relevant PRC regulations. If a license holder fails to comply with the requirements in the circular or cure such non-compliance, the MIIT or its local counterparts have the discretion to take measures against such license holder, including revoking its license for value-added telecommunications business.

Regulation Related to Online Taxi Booking Services

On July 27, 2016, the Ministry of Transport, the MIIT, the Ministry of Public Security, the MOFCOM, the SAMR, the QSIQ, and the Cyberspace Administration of China jointly promulgated the Administrative Measures for the Business of Online Taxi Booking Services, or the Online Taxi Booking Services Measures, which took effect on November 1, 2016 and was most recently amended on November 30, 2022, to regulate the business activities of online taxi booking services, and ensure safety of the passengers. According to the Online Taxi Booking Services Measures, before carrying out online taxi booking services, an enterprise serving as the online taxi booking service platform shall obtain the permit for online taxi booking business from the competent local taxi administrative department, complete the record-filing of internet information services with the competent provincial traffic administrative department, and complete the filings with the authority designated by the public security department of the provincial government of the place where the operator of the online taxi booking service platform is located, within 30 days after its network is officially connected. Vehicles used for the online taxi booking services shall install satellite positioning and emergency alarming devices and fulfill the criteria of safe operations, and the competent taxi administrative departments will issue a transportation permit for vehicles used for online taxi booking services that satisfy the prescribed conditions and such vehicles will be registered as vehicles for pre-booked passenger transport. In addition, drivers engaging in the online taxi booking services shall satisfy the requirement of driving experience, no criminal offence or violent crime record to obtain his license for online taxi booking services. Furthermore, various local governmental authorities have promulgated implementing rules to stipulate the requirements for online taxi booking service platforms, vehicles and drivers. For instance, on November 28, 2016, the People’s Government of Guangzhou promulgated the Administrative Measures for the Business Operation of Online Taxi Booking Services of Guangzhou, taking effect on the same day and most recently amended on November 14, 2019, which reiterates that an enterprise serving as the online taxi booking platform shall fulfill the requirements stipulated in the Online Taxi Booking Services Measures and obtain the permit for operating online taxi booking business from the municipal traffic administrative department in Guangzhou.

 

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Regulation Related to Financing Lease

According to the Administrative Measures of Supervision on Financing Lease Enterprises formulated by the MOFCOM and effective on October 1, 2013, financing lease enterprises shall use lease properties with clear ownership and capable of generating revenue to carry out the financing lease business and shall report the relevant data in a timely and truthful manner through the National Financing Lease Company Management Information System. Financing lease enterprises shall not engage in deposits, loans, entrusted loans or other financial services. Without approval of the relevant government authorities, financing lease enterprises shall not engage in inter-bank borrowing or other businesses and must not carry out illegal fundraising activities under the disguise of a financing lease company. In addition, the measures also provide that financing lease enterprises shall give adequate consideration to and objectively evaluate the value of assets leased back, set purchasing prices for subject matter thereof with reference to reasonable pricing basis in compliance with accounting principles, and shall not purchase any subject matter at a price in excess of the value thereof.

Furthermore, the PRC Civil Code promulgated by the National People’s Congress and effective on January 1, 2021 sets forth general terms about financing lease contracts and further provides that the lessor and the lessee may agree on the ownership of the leased property upon expiry of the lease term. If the ownership of the leased property is not or is not clearly agreed between the parties and cannot be determined pursuant to the PRC Civil Code, the leased property shall be owned by the lessor.

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