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Hyundai Motor, BTIRDI to establish $100M hydrogen energy fund in China; foundation for fuel cell vehicle market

Hyundai Motor has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Beijing-Tsinghua Industrial R&D Institute (BTIRDI) to establish a Hydrogen Energy Fund. Under this agreement, the South Korean automaker and its Chinese counterpart expect to strengthen their influence in the hydrogen ecosystem while accelerating the advent of a Hydrogen Society.

The Hydrogen Energy Fund will be jointly operated by Hyundai Motor and Yield Capital, BTIRDI’s investment firm, with a goal to raise a total of US$100 million. The fund aims to attract investments from leading venture capital firms based in China, Europe, and the US.

The binational initiative’s primary objective is to spur investment in the hydrogen industry and value chain while also fostering growth of promising startups in China and Korea. More specifically, the fund will seek for innovative companies that possess various hydrogen-related infrastructures and leadership in core hydrogen technologies.

The partnership will harness its collective expertise in hydrogen technologies to conduct detailed analyses on the investment candidates’ future growth potential, in order to make the best investment that would benefit the entire industry and ecosystem.

The Hydrogen Energy Industry Fund’s contributions will not be limited to mere equity investments, but will involve active and systematic support based on each member’s incubating programs and corporate venture capital (CVC) strategies.

Hyundai Motor expects that the establishment of the Hydrogen Energy Industry Fund will pave the way for new hydrogen-related business opportunities in China. In particular, the Sino-Korean cooperation will lay a strong foundation for Hyundai Motor to make foray into the Chinese fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market in the future.

Hydrogen is emerging as a key pillar for future growth in China. In February, the China National Alliance of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell (China Hydrogen Alliance) officially launched to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen in China and promote the construction of a hydrogen society in the country. The Chinese government is also targeting a large-scale deployment of one million FCEVs and one thousand refill stations by 2030.

BTIRDI is an industrial R&D institute established in 1998 by the Beijing municipal government and Tsinghua University. Focused on driving innovation and supporting the university in developing scientific and technological breakthroughs, the institute serves as a high-tech incubating center as well as a technology consultant for the government.

Yield Capital, an investment firm founded in 2014 by BTIRDI, has made a number of investments in the hydrogen industry and value chain, including companies that produce and store hydrogen, as well as fuel cell stack and fuel cell system developers.

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