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Geely of Hangzhou began as a refrigerator manufacturer in 1986, with its first cars in 1998 based around the Daihatsu Charade. In 2002, it acquired the motor car division of Shanghai Jmstar Group, renaming its Huapu marque Shanghai Maple. In 2003, it cooperated with Daewoo before that company found itself in difficulties. An IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange followed in 2004. Buoyed by a growing Chinese market, Geely introduced sub-brands from the late 2000s onward—Gleagle, Emgrand and Englon—but the experiment was deemed a failure and the cars were all brought back under the Geely marque in 2014. Geely found itself strong enough to take over Volvo from Ford in 2010, and made it into a success; in 2017 it acquired 49·9 per cent of struggling Malaysian car maker Proton and 51 per cent of Lotus. It also created a new premium brand, Lynk & Co., in 2017. In 2019, it acquired 50 per cent of Smart from Daimler AG.


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