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Electric-Vehicle Startup XPeng Bets on the Tech That Tesla Rejects – The Wall Street Journal

GUANGZHOU—Once a Tesla Inc. fan who owned four of its vehicles, He Xiaopeng, co-founder of Chinese electric-vehicle startup XPeng Inc. , now wants to overtake the car company that originally inspired him.

While acknowledging Tesla as an inspiration, Mr. He said XPeng—one of three Chinese EV companies listed in the U.S.—can win using innovation, an area in which Chinese technology companies have become increasingly formidable.

“We have a saying in China,” Mr. He said in an interview Wednesday at XPeng’s headquarters in the southern city of Guangzhou. “To defeat someone, you need to do something different.”

XPeng, alongside its U.S.-listed peers Li Auto Inc. and Nio Inc., has taken investors on a wild ride over the past eight months.

The company’s August listing on the New York Stock Exchange valued it at $8 billion. By November its value had jumped to nearly $58 billion. Now it is back down to about $27 billion. In March, the Shanghai-based research firm Hurun Report said Mr. He was worth $11 billion.