LeEco is still seeking approval by the Chinese government to manufacture its LeSee electric cars.
Several Chinese media sources, including ChinaDaily, had reported LeEco most likely did not have the required permissions to build its factory. A LeEco spokesperson has confirmed to media that the startup automaker doesn’t yet have the license required by the Chinese government to build electric cars.
Government approval is “pending,” but the lack of the granted license is “not a big problem,” the company spokesperson said.
LeEco said that it will be investing 12 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) to build a plant in China capable of producing 400,000 electric cars per year. The company is best known for its LeSee electric concept car that it says will be a Tesla competitor, and an alliance with Faraday Future.
LeEco, a subsidiary of the Chinese tech giant firm, is one of several non-automakers seeking government approval to enter the electric car market. The approval process can take several months and involves review by the federal government, various agencies, and local governments.
Karma Automotive’s parent company, auto parts maker Wanxiang, is seeking approval to build its own vehicle manufacturing plant in China. The Chinese government announced last year that will issue new production licenses to non-automakers.
Companies like LeEco and Wanxiang are entering the carmaking business to tap into consumer interest and the government’s “new energy vehicles” incentive programs for manufacturers and car buyers. The Chinese government wants to see improvements in air pollution and development of innovative new technologies in its economy.