TuSimple’s IPO filing reveals roadblocks for self-driving startups with Chinese ties – TechCrunch

While the governments of the United States and China are pushing insurance policies for technological decoupling, personal tech companies proceed to faucet assets from each side. In the sphere of autonomous autos, it’s frequent to see Chinese startups — or startups with a robust Chinese hyperlink — maintain operations and search investments in each international locations.

But as these corporations mature and increase globally, their ties to China additionally come beneath rising scrutiny.

When TuSimple, a self-driving truck firm headquartered in San Diego, filed for an initial public offering on Nasdaq this week, its prospectus flagged a regulatory threat as a consequence of its Chinese funding supply.

On March 1, the Committee on Foreign Investment within the United States (CFIUS) requested a written discover from TuSimple relating to an funding by Sun Dream, an affiliate of Sina Corporation, which runs China’s largest microblogging platform Sina Weibo. Sun Dream is TuSimple’s largest shareholder with 20% Class A shares. Charles Chao and Bonnie Yi Zhang, respectively the CEO and CFO of Weibo, are each members of TuSimple’s board.

If the U.S. authorities concludes that Sun Dream’s funding poses a risk to the nationwide safety of the nation, the investor could also be informed to divest from TuSimple, the filing notes.

Several China-based autonomous driving upstarts, together with WeRide.
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ai, Pony.ai and AutoX, maintain analysis labs in California and have secured regulatory permits to check within the U.S., however most don’t appear to have obvious industrial plans within the nation.

TuSimple, then again, is concentrated on the U.S. for now, with 50 of its Level four semi-trucks hauling within the U.S. and 20 working in China.

“Their strong Chinese background could hobble their U.S.-focused strategy,” an govt from a Chinese autonomous automobile startup informed TechCrunch, asking to not be named.

TuSimple can not remark as a result of it’s within the pre-IPO quiet interval.

This form of roadblock is hardly new to China-related tech companies coveting the U.S. market (or its allies). In a extra well-known occasion, CFIUS opened a national security probe into ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of Musical.ly, which was folded into TikTok. As of final December, the company was “engaging with ByteDance” to finish a divestment, Reuters reported.

While self-driving ventures can divest to shed their Chinese affiliation, it could be extra sophisticated to realize short-term provide chain independence in an business with tight international ties, as an govt from Momenta pointed out.

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