Nio (NYSE:NIO) is by far the best-known Chinese EV manufacturer, at least in the U.S. Ask most investors to name a Chinese EV brand, and many would likely struggle to come up with Nio. Beyond that, a few more might be able to name XPeng (NYSE:XPEV). But there are actually a lot of Chinese EV stocks investors have to choose from.
In fact, a recent article from the New York Times puts the number of Chinese EV manufacturers at more than 300. According to Wikipedia, there are fewer than 90 in the United States.
Additionally, investors may be surprised to know that China is the largest and fastest-growing EV market in the world. In fact, 57% of electric vehicles sold globally were sold in China. Thus, it makes sense that China would have more manufacturers vying to serve that greater demand.
Let’s look at a few of the top Chinese EV stocks that are gunning for Nio’s market share right now.
Li Auto (LI)
First on this list of Chinese EV stocks to consider is Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI), one of Nio’s stronger competitors. It’s also among the bigger names in the Chinese EV space.
On the one hand, Nio is larger than Li Auto, as measured by market capitalization. Nio boasts a market cap of approximately $17 billion. Meanwhile, Li Auto’s market cap is slightly smaller, at around $16 billion.
That said, given this small discrepancy in size, it’s clear that Li Auto is a serious competitor to Nio. Assessing vehicle sales, this truth becomes more clear.
In late September, Li Auto announced that it expects to deliver 25,500 vehicles in Q3. The company solely produces SUVs, both of which are 6-seater vehicles. Roughly speaking then, Li should deliver roughly 8,500 vehicles per month in Q3.
Nio reported that it delivered 10,677 vehicles in August. 7,551 of those were SUV/Crossovers with sedans accounting for the balance.
The point here is this: Li Auto sells slightly more SUVs than Nio does on a monthly basis. It doesn’t have the same name brand recognition, but it does have a chance to carve out a name as China’s electric SUV of choice.
Niu Technologies (NIU)
Niu Technologies (NASDAQ:NIU) stock represents a company taking a different approach than Nio to EVs. The Beijing-based firm provides urban mobility solutions. In other words, electric scooters, motorcycles, and e-bikes.
One reason Niu Technologies is an interesting Chinese EV firm is that it is still grappling with sales mix and pricing decisions. Sales decreased 12.4% in the most recent quarter, falling to the USD equivalent of $114.12 million at current exchange rates.
In raw terms, those revenues are far lower than the $1.536 billion Nio posted in Q2. So, it’s difficult to say the two are comparable.
But here’s the rub: EV motorcycles represent a bigger market by volume in China than EV cars. There were 41 million EV motorcycles sold in China in 2021. In comparison, only 3.6 million EV cars were sold in China through August of this year.
It isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, to be sure. But NIU stock has significant upside potential due to the massive two-wheeled EV market in China. That is reflected in its stock, which has 20X potential, based on its target price.
Rounding out this list of Chinese EV stocks gunning for Nio is BYD (OTCMKTS:BYDDF). A massive, diversified Chinese company that produces EVs and many other products, BYD is best-known as a Warren Buffett holding. Indeed, any stock that Buffett latches onto is one that investors should pay attention to.
The company is broadly broken into four operating segments; autos, rail transit, renewable energy, and electronics. Interestingly, BYD employs more than 288,000 people across these business lines.
Its vehicle lineup is relatively similar to that of Nio. BYD boasts three EVs – a small SUV called the Atto 3, a sedan called the Han, and a large SUV, the Tang. All three of BYD’s vehicles are powered by the company’s BYD Balde Battery platform.
The name BYD might not have the same cache as Nio. However, what it lacks in recognition, it makes up for in sales volume. That’s because BYD sells a lot more vehicles than Nio does. In September alone, BYD sold more than 200,000 of its EVs. That figure represented a 187% increase on a year-over-year basis, and 26,996 more vehicles sold than in August.
BYD stock currently trades above $21 and carries a price target of $40. It isn’t a pure play EV company like Nio, which might explain why it’s less well-known. But BYD sells far more vehicles and could be the big market share winner when it’s all said and done.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.