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BEIJING, May 6 (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio Inc said on Thursday that it had launched its first overseas store in Norway and plans to start selling cars in the country as it pushes to expand globally.
Nio, which makes electric sport-utility vehicles in China’s eastern city of Hefei, is employing more than 9,000 staff globally, said Chief Executive William Li.
The company, backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, has delivered over 100,000 cars since it was set up in 2014, almost all of them in China.
The automaker’s chief in Norway, Marius Hayler, said at an online event that Nio was building its first showroom outside China in Norway’s capital city Oslo.
It aims to open the first showroom in September. Nio will open stores in four other Norway cities in 2022, Hayler said.
Norway is boosting sales of electric vehicles, which represent over half of the country’s all new cars sales.
China’s EV makers have been looking to push up exports in line with Beijing’s ambition to build a world-class auto industry and to compete with traditional auto firms.
Nio’s rivals Xpeng Inc and BYD already sell electric cars in Europe.
Nio’s co-founder and president, Qin Lihong, told Reuters at the Shanghai Auto Show that Nio would build a user community in foreign markets as it does in China when it sells cars globally.
The company will adjust to local environments by hiring local staff and learn local culture, Qin had said.
Nio is valued at $61.8 billion based on its New York stock listing, just below Germany’s BMW.
Last year, Nio’s CEO William Li said the firm aimed to enter more markets from 2022. The company is also researching entering the United States, the world’s No.2 auto market after China, Nio executives have said. (Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe; Editing by Himani Sarkar and David Goodman)