Before Li Shufu rose to become the largest single shareholder at Mercedes-Benz through the acquisition of almost 10 percent of Daimler’s shares, the billionaire was apparently also in talks with the BMW Group. As Spiegel reports, there were also talks between BMW and the Geely founder in the run-up to the entry into Daimler. Li is said to have promised BMW improved access to the Chinese market, including through his contacts with the Chinese government.

In return, Li Shufu did not want a stock package, but a cooperation in the construction of electric cars. However, the BMW Group has decided to go down a different path and recently announced a cooperation between MINI and Great Wall in order to build the electric car MINI E in China.

At the same time, Li Shufu aims to make Geely one of the world’s leading carmakers. The partnership with Mercedes-Benz, which has been forced by Daimler’s surprise purchase of shares to some extent, could be one of the keys to the further rise of the Chinese over the next few years. The Swedish traditional brand Volvo is already part of the Geely Group and has developed splendidly in recent years.

As carmakers from China still do not enjoy a competitive image in the rest of the world, partnering or acquiring familiar brands now seems the way to get a foot in the door of European and American car buyers.

The BMW Group is in a position that doesn’t raise any concerns about a “hostile takeover”: the Quandt and Klatten families hold the majority of the shares and have stood for a strategy of stable development for several decades.