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January 21, 2019

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Legal documents link Faraday Future to Chinese media conglomerate

Southern Nevada landfill

Steve Marcus

An operator drivers a compacter over garbage at the Apex landfill northeast of Las Vegas Monday, November 23, 2009.

Startup electric car maker Faraday Future has declined to identify its CEO or sources of funding, even as it bargains for a factory site in North Las Vegas and tax incentives from the state of Nevada. But legal documents filed with the state of California suggest that the company’s CEO is a high-level employee of a Chinese media and technology conglomerate helmed by an entrepreneur that Business Insider dubbed the “Chinese Elon Musk.”

Articles of incorporation and a statement of information — legal documents required to set up a company — filed with the California Secretary of State in August name Chaoying Deng as the chief executive officer of FF Inc. The company is based in Gardena, Calif. and is reported to have more than 300 employees.

Deng is a corporate director at LeVision Pictures, one of the largest film production and distribution companies in China, according to her LinkedIn profile. The organization is a division of Beijing-based Leshi Internet & Technology, known as LeTV. In December, LeTV’s CEO Jia Yueting announced plans to build an electric car and established Leshi Super Electric Car Company. The relationship between that company and FF is unclear.

On Friday, Marcus Nelson, who has previously acted as a spokesperson for FF, said that he was no longer serving in that capacity and directed questions to another spokesperson who did not respond to requests for comment. North Las Vegas city officials declined to comment.

FF’s statement of information lists Deng as the company’s secretary and Jiawei Wang as its chief financial officer. The legal documents required to set up a corporation were filed and signed by Alexander Wu. The filings do not name Jia, and his role, if any, at FF remains unclear.

Tesla officials told the Wall Street Journal in August that they believed that LeTV was providing funding for FF, though a LeTV spokesperson called that “speculation.” FF declined the paper’s request for comment on its affiliation with LeTV.

North Las Vegas is one of four cities across the United States vying to house the FF factory. The company has been in talks with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development over tax incentives similar to those offered to Tesla in 2014 and with North Las Vegas about the use of the city’s mostly empty 18,000-acre Apex Industrial Park. A report commissioned by the city of North Las Vegas estimated that FF could bring 4,000 jobs to the region.

FF has said that it plans to announce the factory’s location by the end of the quarter.

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