Byton (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Company typePublic
IndustryAutomotive, Electric Vehicles
Founded2016; 8 years ago (2016)
FounderCarsten Breitfeld
Daniel Kirchert
Defunct2021; 3 years ago (2021)
FateDefunct (Bankruptcy)
Key people
Ding Qingfen (Acting CEO)
ProductsElectric Vehicles
Number of employees
more than 10 worldwide (July 2020)
ParentChina Harmony New Energy Auto Holding Ltd

Byton was a Chinese-German all-electric vehicle automotive brand established in 2017 and incorporated in Hong Kong,[1] co-founded by former BMW and Nissan executives. Byton unveiled its first concept car to the public in January 2018.[2] It planned to introduce its M-Byte SUV model first, with the start of production and sales scheduled for late 2019,[3] however developmental delays and financial troubles repeatedly pushed back the launch.

In June 2020, the company decided to suspend operations for corporate reorganization for a planned six-month period.[4] In 2021, Byton entered bankruptcy, and its work with manufacturing partner Foxconn was halted indefinitely.[5]


In 2016, Tencent, together with Foxconn and luxury-car dealer Harmony New Energy Auto started a new joint venture called Future Mobility, a car startup that aimed to sell all-electric fully autonomous premium cars in 2020.[6]

The company was co-founded by Carsten Breitfeld, CEO, and Daniel Kirchert, president.[7] It was a subsidiary of China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding Limited.[8]

In January 2017, the company announced its first manufacturing facility would be located in Nanjing, China at a cost of US$1.7 billion and an initial production capacity of 150,000 cars.[9] Around 2017, Future Mobility was renamed to Byton. In 2018, Chinese state owned First Auto Works invested a “significant amount of money” into Byton.[10]

CEO and co-founder Carsten Breitfeld left Byton in April 2019. Fellow co-founder Daniel Kirchert subsequently assumed the position of CEO.[11] Breitfeld later revealed that he had left Byton over the active interference with the company by the Chinese government through FAW.[12]

In April 2020, the company furloughed about half of the 450 employees who worked at its North American headquarters.[13] In June 2020, the company decided to suspend operations for corporate reorganization for a planned six-month period.[14][15]

On September 9, 2020, Nanjing Shengteng Automobile Technology Co, Ltd. was established as the new owner of the brand. FAW Equity Investment (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. holds 23.333% of the shares in Byton, and Duan Lianxiang holds another 6.6667%.[16] In October 2020, it was announced that CEO and co-founder Daniel Kirchert had left the company due to its continued financial troubles.[17]

In January 2021, it was announced that Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn would enter into a strategic partnership with Byton. Foxconn planned on investing US$200 million into Byton. Foxconn was expected to assist Byton with manufacturing and supply chain management.[18]

In April 2021, Byton's German subsidiary entered bankruptcy. In July 2021, Byton suspended operations in China.[19] In September 2021, Nikkei reported that Byton's manufacturing partner Foxconn was putting the project on hold due to continuing financial issues at Byton, effectively putting operations on hold indefinitely.[20][21]


Byton M-Byte (formerly Concept)
Byton K-Byte Concept

The company announced its ambition to launch three electric car models by 2022.[22]

Byton M-Byte[edit]

The Byton M-Byte is an all-electric battery-powered SUV concept car.[23][24] It was first announced is the mid-sized Byton crossover, but only in concept form, with sales expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2019 in China, Europe and the US. It was unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas on 7 January 2018.[25]

Byton K-Byte[edit]

The Byton K-Byte is an all-electric battery-powered sedan concept car.[26] In June 2018, Byton unveiled the Byton K-Byte Concept sedan at CES Asia previewing a luxury electric sedan.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "China e-car newcomer Future Mobility raises $200 million from Suning, others". Reuters. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. ^ "CES 2018: Byton unveils futuristic 'truly smart' car". BBC News. 7 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  3. ^ "China EV Startup Is Said to Seek $500 Million in Fundraising". 7 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Chinese EV startup Byton to suspend production for reorganization". Automotive News Europe. 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  5. ^ Li, Lauly (2021-09-15). "Apple supplier Foxconn's EV project with China's Byton halted". Nikkei Asia.
  6. ^ "Tencent-Backed Company Aims to Launch Smart-Electric Cars Before 2020". 12 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Tesla execs join BMW's former electric vehicle leadership at new Chinese startup". Electrek. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ "China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding Limited Announces 2016 Interim Results". Harmony Group. 31 August 2016. Archived from the original on August 3, 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  9. ^ "China EV Startup Future Mobility to Build $1.7 Billion Factory". Bloomberg. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  10. ^ "China's state car manufacturer FAW invests in Byton". 2018-04-20. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  11. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (16 April 2019). "Electric-car-startup-Byton-loses-co-founder-and-former-ceo-reported-500m-series-c-to-close-this-summer". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  12. ^ O'Kane, Sean (20 September 2019). "Byton founder says he quit because of Chinese government interference". The Verge. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  13. ^ "EV startup Byton furloughs half of its 450-person staff in the US". TechCrunch. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  14. ^ "Chinese EV startup Byton to suspend production for reorganization". Automotive News Europe. 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  15. ^ "Byton may be facing bankruptcy". 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  16. ^ "BYTON to come back by a new company named Shengteng Auto in China". ChinaPEV. 2020-09-12. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  17. ^ Randall, Chris. "Byton CEO Daniel Kirchert leaves". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  18. ^ Taylor, Michael. "EV Startup Byton Hopes To Be Saved By iPhone Maker, Foxconn". Forbes. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Foxconn Partner Byton Faces Challenge for Bankruptcy". Marketwatch. Dow Jones Company. Archived from the original on 30 July 2021. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Apple supplier Foxconn's EV project with China's Byton halted". Nikkei Asia. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  21. ^ "Byton standing on its last leg". 4 November 2021.
  22. ^ "China e-car venture Future Mobility names brand Byton, eyes U.S., Europe". 7 September 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  23. ^ Bell, Karissa (8 January 2018). "This wild-looking electric SUV concept has way more tech than anyone needs". Mashable.
  24. ^ Lekach, Sasha (12 June 2018). "Byton's new electric sedan concept car is even flashier than its SUV". Mashable.
  25. ^ "Byton Concept electric SUV ride review". Auto Express. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  26. ^ Stewart, Jack (12 June 2018). "Byton's K-Byte Electric Concept Makes Self-Driving Look Good". Wired.

External links[edit]