With headquarters in southeastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has bought around 9.7 percent of Daimler's stake.
Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund, which has been an investor in Daimler for decades, was the largest stakeholder in the automaker as of the end of December with a 6.8 per cent holding.
German business media have for weeks reported Li and Geely's interest in Daimler, but Friday was the first time Li's stake crossed the threshold of 3 percent of stock, requiring a public notification. Since previous year, the company has purchased various stakes in automakers around the globe, including Malaysian brand Proton Cars, British sports and racing auto manufacturer Lotus Cars, and Swedish truckmaker AB Volvo.
"No current auto industry player is likely to win this battle against the invaders from outside without friends". Late a year ago, Geely had asked Daimler to issue additional shares so it could buy them, but that request was rebuffed. Volkswagen is majority-owned by the Porsche-Piech clan, while BMW is 47 per cent owned by Susanne Klatten, Germany's richest woman, and her brother Stefan Quandt.
The German economy ministry said in a statement emailed to Reuters: "There are legal regulations that have to be adhered to in takeovers". A Stuttgart-based analyst told the financial news company that Geely could take advantage of Daimler's expertise in electric cars, while Daimler benefits from better access into the lucrative Chinese market.
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"Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking".
He added that Geely could give Daimler an important partner.
Li Shufu said,"The competitors that technologically challenge the global vehicle industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today".
In 2010, it purchased Sweden's Volvo Cars.
Forster explained that in the areas of electromobility and autonomous driving there should be more cooperation.