The Starbucks coffee on the 1st floor of Block B, Jiaming Center, East Third Ring Road, Beijing, is crowded with people. It’s one of hundreds of Starbucks stores in Beijing, and it’s unremarkable.
But whether it was passers-by or building security, no one remembered that this location once belonged to Singularity cars.
The official website of Singularity Motors remains in the spring breeze in 2019, and even retains franchisee recruitment advertisements. Everything seems like time has stopped flowing, so magical.
Singularity Automobile was originally a co-founder of “Wei Xiaoli”, and was once a “new star force”, and was invested by 360, Lenovo, Anhui Tongling and so on.
And its real status quo is: owed wages are arbitrated, the founder is a “laolai”, the company is listed on the list of dishonest…
At a point where the monthly sales of friends and businessmen have exceeded 10,000, Singularity Motors has come to the brink of collapse.
Former stars and new forces, now become old Lai
Recently, a notice of acceptance of a labor arbitration case came out on the Internet, revealing the status quo of Singularity Automobile’s former star new force:
According to the revelations of employees who collectively demanded wages, more than 150 Singularity employees have applied for labor arbitration, and more than 300 employees have been owed wages. Among them, the longest delinquency time has reached one and a half years, and some employees are owed wages close to 200,000 yuan.
That is to say, from the beginning of last year to the present, none of the employees of Singularity Motors have had their wages recorded. By digging through the clues of employees’ salary demands, we found that Singularity Motors has come to the brink of life and death.
According to the information, Anhui Singularity Automobile and its parent company Shanghai Zhiche Youxing are currently listed as persons subject to execution by courts in Beijing, Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and other places.
However, there were as many as 17 cases that were ruled “ended” by the court because Singularity Automobile had no enforceable property, involving a total amount of tens of millions of yuan. The earliest date appeared in September 2020, with an amount of 3.34 million yuan. .
In addition, Singularity Automobile is currently carrying 18 lawsuits, most of which are contract disputes and property preservation being applied for.
More “real hammer” evidence is a civil judgment published by the Beijing Court Trial Information Network in June. The verdict shows that Singularity Motor needs to pay China Automotive Research Institute a service fee of more than 649,000 yuan and related liquidated damages.
In other words, at present, Singularity Automobile can’t even take out a mere 600,000 cash.
Also at this point in time, Singularity founder Shen Haiyin was successively restricted from high consumption by courts in Shanghai, Beijing and Jiangsu, and his equity in Singularity Auto was also frozen.
At this point, whether it is the main body of the Singularity Automobile legal person with great momentum 8 years ago, or the founder Shen Haiyin who shouted to be “China Tesla”, they have become “Lao Lai”.
Singularity was once glorious
Singularity Automobile was registered and established in 2014. The new energy car manufacturers born in the same year include Weilai, Ideal and Xiaopeng. Singularity Automobile and the three new domestic car manufacturers stand on the same starting line.
The founder Shen Haiyin has a double bachelor degree in automatic control and industrial management from Shanghai Jiaotong University, and has been working hard in the Internet industry for a long time.
In the early years, he had successively started his own business in Japan. After being acquired by Google, he joined Kingsoft Software as vice president of Kingsoft Group and president of Kingsoft Security.
From 2013 to 2015, Shen Haiyin was the vice president of Qihoo 360 Company. In charge of 360 Mobile Guard, 360 Cloud Disk, 360 Secure Routing, etc.
The opportunity for Shen Haiyin to create Singularity Automobile originated from Tesla, the leader in the new energy vehicle industry.
According to Shen Haiyin’s recollection, the first time he drove a Tesla, he felt an electric shock. Shen Haiyin, who was still working at 360 at the time, was already eager to try it. He expressed the idea of building a car to Zhou Hongyi, hoping to do a car project inside 360.
However, Zhou Hongyi believed that car building was far from the main business of 360, and rejected Shen Haiyin. If the boss does not agree, then do it yourself, and the Singularity car was born.
Shen Haiyin named his car brand “Singularity”, which is also the dream of a science and engineering man: “Singularity, in physics, is considered to be the beginning of the Big Bang, the point where the universe came into existence from nothing.”
Dr. Huang Yu, a former core member of Baidu’s American Research Institute and an expert in artificial intelligence and autonomous driving, led the intelligent research and development of Singularity.
In addition, Singularity has invited Zhou Shijian, the former president of the Chinese branch of the North American Chinese Automotive Engineers Association, for the vehicle, and Fan Xing, the former deputy general manager of Chery sales, as the sales.
Singularity Motors released its first model iS6 in 2016, which was earlier than the launch of the first model of “Weixiaoli” established in the same year, and earned enough attention from the outside world.
During this period, Shen Haiyin made frequent appearances and roadshows with Singularity iS6. With the increasing popularity of the industry and the influx of capital from all walks of life, Singularity Automobile has become a new force in car manufacturing that early capital is very optimistic about.
From 2015 to 2020, Singularity Auto has completed 11 rounds of financing. Among them are Lenovo Star, the old club 360, Intel Capital, Netpower, ITOCHU Corporation, Anhui Tongling Municipal Government and so on. As of 2019, the total financing amount of Singularity Auto has exceeded 17 billion yuan.
In 2016, Shen Haiyin announced to the outside world that he would strive to achieve small batch production in 2017. At the same time, Shen Haiyin also revealed Singularity’s plan to build its own factory: “The foundry model means that many things are not necessarily fully controllable, and these adjustments will affect our process.”
Tongling City, Anhui Province handed over an olive branch after hearing Shen Haiyin’s remarks, inviting Singularity Motors to settle down, and at the same time investing some funds.
In November 2016, Singularity Motors announced that it would move its headquarters south to Tongling and build a factory. The factory is expected to have a total investment of 8 billion yuan and an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles.
The star halo of Singularity Motors at that time attracted not only Tongling, Anhui, but also local governments such as Suzhou, Jiangsu and Zhuzhou, Hunan successively reached an agreement with Singularity to set up R&D centers and production bases.
However, the “multi-point blooming” of Singularity Automobile was not as expected by Shen Haiyin, but became a burden that dragged down the mass production of Singularity Automobile.
According to Zhengguan News, in 2020, the old shareholder 360 visited Singularity Auto to discuss a new round of investment. At that time, the whole company was optimistic about getting a new round of investment from 360. But in the end, 360 abandoned the singularity and turned around and put the money in Nezha Auto.
The first time Singularity was sued for a contract dispute occurred in 2020. It can be seen that around 2020 is the beginning of the predicament of Singularity Automobile. Zhou Hongyi considered the feelings of his former comrades in mind, but he did not say anything.
From the high spirits of 2016 to the understretched in 2020, what has happened to Singularity? As mentioned earlier, Singularity insisted on building its own factories, and planned three production bases in Tongling, Anhui, Zhuzhou, Hunan, and Suzhou, Jiangsu at almost the same time.
For these three bases, Singularity’s officially announced investment amounts are 8 billion, 5 billion, and 15 billion respectively. In addition to factories, Singularity Motor has built a new R&D center, an offline experience store, and moved its headquarters, all of which cost nothing.
According to the plan, Singularity’s 17 billion financing is far from enough to spend, and the 17 billion is financing in batches over 5 years.
As a comparison, from the establishment of the three Wei Xiaoli companies to the successful mass production and listing of the first car, the financing amounts were 12 billion, 10 billion, and billions of RMB (calculated at the current exchange rate).
Planning carefully and saving money should be a common strategy for new forces to survive the early stage of survival.
However, in addition to investing in and building factories in three places, Singularity Motors also entered the commercial vehicle and two-wheeled electric scooter business at the same time.
In October 2018, just over a year after the release of the iS6, Singularity officially announced that it had begun to develop an electrified platform for commercial vehicles, and moved towards the fields of smart cockpit systems, smart driving systems and smart car networking.
Zhidian Intelligent New Energy Vehicle Co., Ltd., established in July 2018, is a new energy commercial vehicle operator that provides vehicle design and development, parts manufacturing and related ecological services. The legal representative of the company when it was established was Shen Haiyin, the founder of Singularity Motors.
However, last year, Shen Haiyin withdrew from the high-level team of Zhidian Auto, and his 80% stake in Zhidian Auto was released to 15%.
In addition to commercial vehicles, in July 2019, a company called Shawan released its first new brand “Blue Shark” and launched its first product “Blue Shark Robor”. According to public information, the company was founded in August 2018, and Shen Haiyin is the co-founder and chairman of the company.
The Blue Shark is also the only mass-produced product that Shen Haiyin has built for 8 years.
As for the early planned three vehicle factories in Tongling, Suzhou and Zhuzhou, none of them have actually been implemented. In 2017, Shen Haiyin broke his promise for the first time, and the iS6 failed to be mass-produced as scheduled.
However, in 2018, Shen Haiyin continued to promise that the iS6 will be launched in the Spring Festival of 2019. But until today, the mass production of iS6 is still delayed.
Until last year, Singularity was still looking for a foundry for iS6 mass production. 17 billion was gradually exhausted in Shen Haiyin’s “more blossoming” operation.
As for the Singularity Auto executive team mentioned earlier, Dr. Huang Yu, who is in charge of automotive intelligence, switched to Black Sesame Intelligence in November 2020, and later went to Zhitu Technology. In March this year, he joined Zero Beam Technology, a subsidiary of SAIC.
As for Zhou Shijian, who is in charge of the vehicle, and Fan Xing, who is in charge of sales, there has been no public news since 2019. Singularity Automobile has also gone from being a star of the new forces back then to a situation where it is on the verge of collapse today. There is only a store that can never be found, and a phone that can never be reached.
After the employees’ salary demands were exposed, the management of Singularity revealed that they were working hard to raise funds. However, some investors have pointed out mercilessly that after 2020, Singularity will not be favored in the investment circle.