Three of China's "Big Four" state-owned banks are the biggest investors in Tesla's massive Shanghai Gigafactory, making the Chinese state the largest investor in this battery and electric car making enterprise.
Construction of the Shanghai Gigafactory will begin in a few months and is being financed by $2 billion (RMB13 billion) in loans from a bevy of Chinese lenders led by three of the Big Four banks. These three Big Four banks are the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank (CCB) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).
ICBC is the biggest bank in the world by total assets, deposits, loans, number of customers and number of employees. It posted a net profit of $45.6 billion in 2017, up 2.8 percent from 2016. CCB is the second largest bank in the world by market capitalization and reported a net profit of $38.5 billion in 2017, up 5.7 percent year-on-year.
ABC is China's third biggest bank by assets. It posted a net profit of $30.5 billion in 2017, up 4.9 percent from 2016. The participation of three of the Big Four effectively seems to indicate that the Chinese government is the Gigafactory's biggest creditor.
"We need to bring the Shanghai factory online," said Elon Musk last month during an earnings call with investors. "I think that's the biggest variable for getting to 500,000-plus a year. Our car is just very expensive going into China. We've got import duties, we've got transport costs, we've got higher costs of labor here."
During the same earnings call, Musk said Tesla needs "something in the order of $0.5 billion in CapEx to get to the 3,000 vehicle rate in Shanghai."
Some $500 million (RMB 3.3 billion) of Tesla's new financing will go to the first stage of the Shanghai Gigafactory, said JL Warren, a New York-based investment research firm that focuses on Chinese companies and U.S. firms with significant exposure in China.
JL Warren also said the first stage of financing will likely have a 3.9 percent interest rate, below the Public Bank of China benchmark rate of 4.35 percent. This benign rate should help Tesla get its assembly line running to produce its initial 250,000 Model 3 electric sedans.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.