A Chinese EV billionaire's wealth has plummeted 75% to $1.4 billion as aggressive price wars push customers to higher-tier cars — like Tesla or BYD

He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng, speaks during a press briefing to present next-gen technology architecture SEPA2.0 on April 16, 2023 in Shanghai, China.
He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng, is now worth $1.4 billion.VCG/VCG/Getty Images
  • The fortune of He Xiaopeng, CEO of Chinese EV maker Xpeng, has fallen 75% from a 2021 peak.

  • He owns 20.5% of Xpeng shares, which tanked nearly 20% this year.

  • The EV landscape in China has been under intense competition amid a Tesla-triggered price war.

Tesla's price war in China is hitting one EV tycoon's fortune hard.

He Xiaopeng, the 45-year-old billionaire cofounder, chairman, and CEO of China's electric vehicle maker Xpeng, is now worth $1.4 billion after his wealth tanked by 75% from its 2021 peak, according to Forbes.

Forbes did not specifically state how it calculated He's wealth. The tycoon owns 20.5% of Xpeng class A shares as of December 31, 2022, per a regulatory filing made public in February.

Despite the wealth wipeout, He is still the 2,048th richest person in the world — although his net worth is now just a quarter of his $5.5 billion wealth in 2021, per Forbes.

Xpeng shares have seen massive swings this year, last coming under pressure after the company released disappointing first-quarter earnings last Wednesday — the company's revenues dropped 50% from a year ago to 4.03 billion Chinese yuan, or $569 million.

The Alibaba-backed company's first-quarter net loss also widened to 2.34 billion yuan from 1.7 billion yuan a year ago.

The Xpeng P7 sports sedan is the company's bestseller to date, according to a Wired report in February. The EV maker launched its first mass-produced model, the G3, in 2018.

Xpeng Wing limited edition electric car.
Xpeng Wing limited edition electric car.

Xpeng's limited-edition version of its P7 sedan with scissor doors.Xpeng

Xpeng's results came amid an intense price war in China's EV sector triggered by Tesla.

Yale Zhang, a Shanghai-based managing director at consultancy Automotive Foresight, told Forbes that Tesla's 30,000 yuan price cut in China ratcheted the EV war in China, particularly for domestic brands.

Xpeng followed suit, but its price cuts did not appeal to buyers who prefer to buy cars made by Tesla or Warren Buffet-backed BYD as they are more popular, Wang Hanyang, a Shanghai-based analyst at 86 Research, told Forbes.

China is Tesla's second-largest market after the US and important one for the American EV maker. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to visit China this week for the first time in three years, Reuters reported on Monday. It's not clear who he would meet and what they will discuss, per Reuters.

Xpeng still has big plans ahead. It rolled out a new electric SUV in April and has been expanding aggressively in Europe, starting with Norway in December 2020.

Xpeng co-president Brian Gu told CNBC in November 2021 that it eventually wants to ship half its vehicles to countries outside China. He did not provide a time frame for the goal.

"As a company that focuses on global opportunities, we want to be balanced with our contribution of delivery — half from China, half from outside China — in the long run," Gu told the network.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed Xpeng stock closed 2.4% higher at $8.20 on Friday. They are 18% lower so far this year and down 64% from a year ago.

The US markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Xpeng's shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are up 0.2% on Tuesday at midday. They are down 19% this year.

Xpeng did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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