Daimler has agreed to discuss the potential of cooperation in China with Geely chairman Li Shufu, who has recently become the German company’s largest shareholder.
During Daimler’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin, the company’s CEO Dieter Zetsche said: “So far our talks with Li Shufu have been very positive. He wants his investment in Daimler to be a long-term one and he supports our successful strategy.”
“China is our most important market. In our future discussions of the automobile business in China, we will be able to include our largest shareholder,” Zetsche added, according to Autonews.
However, he repeated his condition that any cooperation would have to keep Daimler’s long-standing Chinese partner BAIC happy. Zetsche added that he’s “open for everything” that serves BAIC’s interests. “The bottom line is Li Shufu’s stakeholding offers many new chances”.
A delicate balance
Since Li announced that he had amassed a 9.7 percent stake in the German car maker, worth nearly $8.6 billion, Daimler has been trying to balance between the wishes of its new shareholder and its existing partners in China.
Li has said that he sees partners and alliances as key to defending the industry from new competitors. Daimler is currently enjoying record sales and earnings but is now facing intense spending due to the shift to electric vehicles.