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China’s Electric Vehicle Maker Xpeng is Selling NFTs on Alibaba

The Chinese electric vehicle manufacturing company Xpeng has joined the growing list of establishments that are deploying Non-Fungible tokens, popularly called NFTs for various purposes. Xpeng’s use of the innovative technology is for marketing purposes while marking the occasion of rolling its 100,000th unit of the automobile.

Xpeng is executing its NFT selling exercise via Jingtan, the NFT marketplace owned by Alibaba, one of China’s flagship tech companies. As reported earlier, for regulatory purposes and to remain safe from government scrutiny, the NFTs marketed by Xpeng are referred to as ‘digital collectibles’.

The NFTs by Xpeng are being created using AI painting technology, and are themed after models of the cars produced by the company. Each unit of the NFTs can be purchased by users for 19.9 yuan, equivalent to $3.12. After purchasing the NFTs, users are allowed to test drive the car in the company’s offline store.

Xpeng is not the first car company to adopt the use of NFTs for either product marketing or other purposes. It can be recalled that earlier this year, Auchan auto, another car manufacturing company explored the NFT marketplace of Tencent while advertising its latest car model. In the case of Auchan, the exercise was a promotional effort that allowed would-be owners to purchase the vehicles in advance, with the chance of test driving them for up to one year.

Roewe auto, another car manufacturing company, during the same period, carried out an auction for its first NFT painting. It was for a customized car which was sold for One million yuan, equivalent to $156,983.

The above-mentioned examples, though among the early NFT implementations among electric vehicle manufacturing companies in China, are not the earliest. In October 2021, the electric vehicle arm of SAIC Motor, IM, China’s largest A-share-listed auto group launched a “drive-to-earn” reward plan. This was an early suggestion of NFT issuance among electric vehicle manufacturers in China.

As disclosed at the time, the NFT plan which included NFT paintings would be a comprehensive package. Apart from the artists, the ecosystem would include a community of participants who will play active roles. The idea, as stated was to create and form a painting with a community spirit totem.

SAIC’s NFT program was modeled after the very popular generative art in the current digital art field. In such instances, it is the responsibility of the artist to design the generation rules of the given NFT digital painting, and every interaction between the user and the painting will change the appearance of the painting.

The above examples, and especially the latest development of Xpeng’s NFT implementation reveal the growing popularity of the innovative technology. This growth further pronounces the dilemma that NFTs are facing in China in terms of regulatory concern.

First, the factor of nomenclature which was mentioned above has informed the term “NFT” to be compressed among Chinese users. Rather, they are referred to as “digital collectibles”. Furthermore, several warnings by the Chinese government against the use of these digital assets as tools for speculation and secondary transactions leave creators in a kind of limbo as to exploring the full potential of their products.

As it stands, there is yet to be a definite regulatory framework on the use of NFTs, or as they are called, digital collectibles in China. However, developments in these areas have continued, and the creators are doing all things possible to ensure that they do not attract resistance from the government as experienced with cryptocurrencies in 2021.


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