Now that Geely chairman Li Shufu is the largest single shareholder in Daimler, there's a strong possibility that the two firms could cooperate on tech development. According to the German business publication Manager Magazin, the partnership could even extend to Daimler buying a small stake in Volvo, which Geely owns, and potentially supplying engines and other components to the Swedish marque.
The technology partnership would allegedly have Geely and Mercedes creating a platform for electric vehicles together. However, Manager Magazin specifically notes that the collaboration wouldn't involve the producing battery cells together without citing reasons why this is out of the question.
Financial filings in February revealed that Li Shufu had purchased $9 billion in Daimler stock, and it gave him 9.69 percent ownership of the German automotive giant. The Chinese businessman reportedly believes that the huge expense of developing electric powertrains and autonomous driving tech could result in just a handful of automakers dominating the market. Mergers and partnerships in the industry are the best way to stay in business, he thinks.
Shortly after the acquisition, Li Shufu said that neither he nor Geely would purchase any more shares of Daimler for the time being. He also pledged to “fully abide by the company charter and governance structure of Daimler and respect its values and culture."
Investing in Daimler is hardly Geely's first expansion effort. For example, the firm bought Volvo for $1.8 billion in 2010, and it acquired a controlling stake in Lotus in 2017. The Chinese company has also allegedly looked into purchases of BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shares in the past.