China wields coronavirus to nationalize American-owned carmaker
August 8, 2020
By Jonathan Garber
China enticed an American entrepreneur with the opportunity of helping build a cutting-edge automobile company in the world’s largest car market, then used the uncertainty cast by COVID-19 to steal his intellectual property, the businessman says.
Steve Saleen, founder of specialty high-performance sports car manufacturer Saleen Automotive, and his partner Charles Wang, a Chinese immigrant and former attorney at a New York law firm, were approached in late 2015 about forming a joint venture with the city of Rugao to manufacture automobiles.
The deal “offered, I thought, from my standpoint, a great opportunity to help build a global company,” Saleen told FOX Business.
The agreement that was reached called for Saleen to contribute his brand and trademarks, designs for three engineered vehicles and experience, know-how and technology in manufacturing automobiles, he said. Those contributions were valued at $800 million.
Wang, who helped structure the deal, would serve as the company’s chief executive officer.
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