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With Daimler deal, Geely puts China flag in German heartland

The founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. has become the top shareholder in Daimler AG.

Photo: /ritzau/Jens Dresling/

The car industry is witnessing one of its biggest disruptions since Karl Benz assembled the first automobile more than a century ago, and Li Shufu wants to play an active part in the revolution.

The founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. has become the top shareholder in Daimler AG, the German company that traces its roots to Benz, and inherits a storied legacy with inventions such as the world's first diesel car. The 7.3 billion-euro (USD 9 billion) stake, disclosed on Friday and first reported by Bloomberg, represents the biggest investment by a Chinese company in an overseas automaker – and one right in the nerve centers of the global automotive world.

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