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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report

For the transition period from to

Commission file number: 001-41611

Hesai Group

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

9th Floor, Building L2-B

1588 Zhuguang Road, Qingpu District

Shanghai 201702

People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

Louis T. Hsieh, Global Chief Financial Officer

9th Floor, Building L2-B

1588 Zhuguang Road, Qingpu District

Shanghai 201702

People’s Republic of China

E-mail: ir@hesaitech.com

Telephone: +86 (21) 3158-8240

(Name, Telephone, Email and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of Each Exchange
On Which Registered

American depositary shares, each representing one Class B ordinary share

Class B ordinary share, par value US$0.0001 per share*

HSAI

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

*

Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on The Nasdaq Global Select Market of American depositary shares.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.

None

Table of Contents

(Title of Class)

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:

As of December 31, 2022, there were 115,534,593 ordinary shares outstanding, par value of US$0.0001 per share, being the sum of 85,501,214 Class B ordinary shares, par value of US$0.0001 per share and 30,033,379 Class A ordinary shares, par value of US$0.0001 per share.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Yes No

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company.  See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.    

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

U.S. GAAP  

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board

Other  

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

Item 17 Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes No

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

Yes No

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

    

1

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

4

PART I.

    

5

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

5

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

5

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

5

ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

57

ITEM 4.A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

85

ITEM 5.

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

85

ITEM 6.

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

100

ITEM 7.

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

109

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

111

ITEM 9.

THE OFFER AND LISTING

112

ITEM 10.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

112

ITEM 11.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

123

ITEM 12.

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

124

PART II.

127

ITEM 13.

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

127

ITEM 14.

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

127

ITEM 15.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

127

ITEM 16.

[Reserved]

128

ITEM 16.A.

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

128

ITEM 16.B.

CODE OF ETHICS

128

ITEM 16.C.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

129

ITEM 16.D.

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

129

ITEM 16.E.

PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

129

ITEM 16.F.

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

129

ITEM 16.G.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

129

ITEM 16.H.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

129

ITEM 16.I.

DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS

129

ITEM 17.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

130

ITEM 18.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

130

ITEM 19.

EXHIBITS

130

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INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report on Form 20-F to:

“15 top global autonomous driving companies” are to the top 15 companies ranked by testing miles traveled as reported by the California Department of Motor Vehicles in 2021;
“ADAS” are to advanced driver-assistance systems;
“ADSs” are to American depositary shares, each of which represents one Class B ordinary share;
“AEC-Q” are to a standard issued by the Automotive Electronics Council regarding the conformity of components;
“ASIC” are to application-specific integrated circuit;
“ASTM” are to the American Society for Testing and Materials;
“Autonomous Mobility” are to using driverless vehicles to move passengers or goods autonomously, examples include robotaxis and robotrucks;
“beam steering” are to scanning of the laser beam, which changes the emission directions of the laser beam in a LiDAR system;
“BVI” are to the British Virgin Islands;
“CAGR” are to compound annual growth rate;
“China” or the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purposes of this annual report only, Taiwan;
“Class A ordinary shares” are to our Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“Class B ordinary shares” are to our Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“Cost” are to the per unit price for each LiDAR unit. Customers of LiDAR units for different applications and industries have varying levels of cost sensitivity, which is usually influenced by factors such as timeline for mass adoption, volume of units needed and business models of the target application, among others;
“FMEA” are to failure mode and effects analysis;
“FMEDA” are to failure modes effects and diagnostic analysis;
“FOV” are to field of view;
“FTA” are to fault tree analysis;
“GaAs” are to gallium arsenide;
“GB standards” are to Guobiao standards, the Chinese national standards;
“Hesai,” “we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” are to Hesai Group, our Cayman Islands holding company, and its subsidiaries, including Hesai Technology, and “Hesai Technology” are to Hesai Technology Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries in mainland China, the U.S. and elsewhere. Unless otherwise specified, in the context of describing business and operations, we are referring to the business and operations conducted by Hesai Technology;
“IC” are to integrated circuit;
“InGaAs” are to indium gallium arsenide;

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“IEC” are to the International Electrotechnical Commission;
“IPC” are to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries;
“ISO” are to the International Organization for Standardization;
“ISO/TS 16949” are to a standard based on ISO 9001, including specific requirements from the automotive sector for the design, development, production, installation and servicing of all automotive-related products;
“JEDEC” are to the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council;
“LiDAR” are to light detection and ranging, a remote sensing method that uses light to measure the distance or range of objects;
“MEMS” are to micro-electro-mechanical system;
“nm” are to nanometer;
“OEM” are to original equipment manufacturer;
“OPA” are to optical phased array, a technology enabling laser to emit towards a specific direction by adjusting the phase of each phase shifter in an array phase shifter based on the principle of interference of light;
“ordinary shares” are to our Class A and Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“our WFOE” or “Shanghai Hesai” are to Hesai Technology Co., Ltd.;
“Performance” are to the explicit specifications of a LiDAR unit that directly reflect its performance, including detection range (for example, 200 meters or longer at 10% reflectivity), point density (number of points generated per second, which is horizontal resolution times vertical resolution, multiplied by frame rate), distance accuracy and precision, reflectivity accuracy, and interference rejection, among others;
“primary LiDAR solution” for an autonomous driving company are to the LiDARs whose vendor has the largest share by purchase dollar amount among all LiDARs used in the current fleet of the autonomous driving company;
“Quality” are to the implicit aspects of a LiDAR unit that represent its ability to perform consistently under a variety of circumstances over time, including robustness under extreme operating temperatures, different levels of humidity, waterproof levels, and mechanical shocks and stresses. Quality also represents a product’s manufacturing consistency, functional safety (typically ASIL-B), and viability as an automotive-grade component;
“RMB” and “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of mainland China;
“Robotics” are to last-mile delivery robot, street sweeping robot, and logistics robot in restricted areas;
“RX” are to laser receiver;
“SAE” are to the Society of Automotive Engineers;
“SiPM” are to a receiver combining signals from multiple SPADs;
“SoC” are to system on a chip;
“SPAD” are to single photon avalanche diode;
“ToF” are to Time of Flight, which is a method for measuring the distance between a sensor and an object, based on the time difference between the emission of the laser pulse and its return to the sensor, after being reflected by an object;

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“TX” are to laser transmitter;
“US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$,” and “dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States;
“V2X” are to vehicle to everything, a technology enabling vehicles to interact with external traffic environment, including vehicles, infrastructure, internet and pedestrians; and
“VCSEL” are to vertical cavity surface emitting laser.

Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars and from U.S. dollars to Renminbi in this annual report are made at a rate of RMB6.8972 to US$1.0000, the exchange rate in effect as of December 30, 2022 as set forth in the H.10 statistical release of The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. We make no representation that any Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate, or at all.

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FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. All statements other than statements of current or historical facts are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include statements relating to:

our goals and strategies;
our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;
expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;
the trends in, expected growth and the market size of the ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics industries;
the market for and adoption of LiDAR and related technology;
our ability to produce high-quality products with wide market acceptance;
the success of our customers in developing and commercializing products using our solutions, and the market acceptance of those products;
our ability to introduce new products that meet our customers’ requirement;
our expectations regarding the effectiveness of our marketing initiatives and the relationship with our third-party partners;
competition in our industry;
our ability to recruit and retain qualified personnel;
relevant government policies and regulations relating to our industry;
our ability to protect our systems and infrastructures from cyber-attacks;
general economic and business conditions globally and in China; and
assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing.

These forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Important risks and factors that could cause our actual results to be materially different from our expectations are generally set forth in “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors,” “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview,” “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects,” and other sections in this annual report. You should read thoroughly this annual report and the documents that we refer to with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report and have filed as exhibits to this annual report, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.

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PART I.

ITEM 1.IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

ITEM 3.KEY INFORMATION

Our Holding Company Structure and Risks Related to Doing Business in China

Hesai Group is not a Chinese operating company, but a Cayman Islands holding company with operations mainly conducted by its subsidiaries based in mainland China, and to a lesser extent by its subsidiaries based in the United States and elsewhere. This structure involves unique risks to investors. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Uncertainties exist with respect to how the PRC Foreign Investment Law may impact the viability of our current corporate structure and operations.” In this annual report, unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report to “Hesai,” “we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” are to Hesai Group, our Cayman Islands holding company, and its subsidiaries, including Hesai Technology, and “Hesai Technology” are to Hesai Technology Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries in mainland China, the U.S. and elsewhere. Unless otherwise specified, in the context of describing business and operations, we are referring to the business and operations conducted by Hesai Technology.

We face various legal and operational risks and uncertainties associated with being based in and having the majority of our operations in mainland China and the complex and evolving mainland China laws and regulations. For example, we face risks associated with the fact that the PRC government has significant authority in regulating our operations and may influence or intervene in our operations at any time, regulatory approvals on offerings conducted overseas by, and foreign investment in, China-based issuers, anti-monopoly regulatory actions, and oversight on data security, which may impact our ability to conduct certain businesses, accept foreign investments, or continue to list on a United States exchange. These risks could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs, significantly limit or hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, or cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or become worthless.

Permissions Required from the PRC Authorities for Our Operations

To the extent that the discussions in this section on permissions from mainland China authorities relate to matters of mainland China law, it is the opinion of Commerce & Finance Law Offices, our mainland China counsel. Under mainland China laws and regulations, we are required to obtain or complete a number of licenses, approvals, registrations, filings and other permissions for our operation, including without limitation, the Customs Import And Export Goods Consignee or Consignor Record Return Receipt for our import and export business, the Fixed Source Discharge Registration Return Receipt for the pollutant emissions from our production process, and the Type Approval Certificate for Radio Transmitting Equipment and Record-filing of Sale of Radio Transmitting Equipment for certain of our products. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — If we fail to obtain and maintain the requisite licenses, permits, registrations and filings applicable to our business, or fail to obtain additional licenses, permits, registrations or filings that become necessary as a result of new enactment or promulgation of government policies, laws or regulations or the expansion of our business, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.” The expansion of our manufacturing facilities is also subject to a number of government supervision and approval procedures. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — The expansion of our manufacturing facilities may be subject to delays, disruptions, cost overruns, or may not produce expected benefits.” As of December 31, 2022, we have obtained all such required permissions for our current operation.

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On November 14, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China, or the CAC, issued the Administrative Regulations of Cyber Data Security (Draft for Comments), or the Draft Cyber Data Security Regulations, which provide that data processors conducting the following activities shall apply for cybersecurity review: (i) merger, reorganization or spin-off of Internet platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests affects or may affect national security; (ii) listing abroad of data processors processing over one million users’ personal information; (iii) listing in Hong Kong which affects or may affect national security; (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. On December 28, 2021, the CAC, together with other relevant administrative departments, jointly promulgated the Cybersecurity Review Measures which became effective on February 15, 2022. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, critical information infrastructure operators that procure internet products and services are subject to the cybersecurity review if their activities affect or may affect national security. The Cybersecurity Review Measures further stipulate that an internet platform operator who possesses personal information of more than one million users shall apply for a cybersecurity review before any public offering in a foreign country, and the relevant governmental authorities may initiate a cybersecurity review if they consider that the relevant network products or services or data processing activities affect or may affect national security. As of December 31, 2022, we have not received any notice that we are a critical information infrastructure operator from any government authority; nor have we received any request from the CAC to undergo a cybersecurity review.

In connection with our initial public offering completed in February 2023, we received confirmation in writing from the China Cybersecurity Review Technology and Certification Center, the institution designated by the CAC to receive application materials for cybersecurity review and conduct examinations of such applications, that we were not required to apply for a cybersecurity review in connection with that offering and the listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market if we did not possess over one million users’ personal information prior to the completion of the offering and the listing. As a result, based on the fact that we were not in possession of more than one million users’ personal information, we were not subject to cybersecurity review by the CAC for our initial public offering. However, in connection with any future overseas capital markets activities, we cannot assure you that we will not be required to undergo a cybersecurity review conducted by the CAC, or meet other regulatory requirements that may be adopted in the future by mainland China authorities. To the extent such requirements are or become applicable, we cannot assure you that we would be able to comply with them. For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Any failure to comply with the various applicable laws and regulations related to data security and cybersecurity could affect our offshore listing and lead to liabilities, penalties or other regulatory actions, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

On July 6, 2021, the PRC government promulgated the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities, or the July 6 Opinions, which, among other things, called for enhanced administration and supervision of overseas-listed China-based companies, proposed to strengthen the supervision of overseas issuance and listing of shares by China-based companies and clarified the responsibilities of competent domestic industry regulators and government authorities. Since the July 6 Opinions were promulgated, no further explanations or detailed rules and regulations with respect to the July 6 Opinions have been issued, leaving uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of the July 6 Opinions. We do not believe that any provision in the July 6 Opinions had a material adverse impact on our business operations. Under applicable laws of mainland China, we and our mainland China subsidiaries may be required to complete certain filing procedures with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, in connection with future offering and listing in an overseas market, including our follow-on offerings, issuance of convertible bonds, offshore relisting after going-private transactions, and other equivalent offering activities. If we fail to complete such filing procedures for any future offshore offering or listing, including our follow-on offerings, issuance of convertible bonds, offshore relisting after going-private transactions, and other equivalent offering activities, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other mainland China regulatory authorities, which may include fines and penalties on our operations in mainland China, limitations on our operating privileges in mainland China, restrictions on or delays to our future financing transactions offshore, or other actions that could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs. In addition, we are required to file a report to the CSRC after the occurrence and public disclosure of certain material corporate events, including but not limited to, change of control and voluntary or mandatory delisting. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — The approval and/or other requirements of the CSRC or other mainland China governmental authorities may be required in connection with our issuance of securities overseas under mainland China rules, regulations or policies, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such other requirements.”

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Cash Flows through Our Organization

Hesai Group, our holding company, or the Parent, may transfer cash to Hesai Hong Kong Limited, its wholly owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, through capital injections and intra-group loans. Hesai Hong Kong Limited, in turn, may transfer cash to Shanghai Hesai, its wholly owned subsidiary in mainland China, through capital injections and intra-group loans. Similarly, Shanghai Hesai may transfer cash to its wholly owned subsidiaries in mainland China and, upon approval from relevant mainland China authorities, to subsidiaries in the U.S., through capital injections and intra-group loans. If our wholly owned subsidiaries in mainland China realize accumulated after-tax profits, they may, upon satisfaction of relevant statutory conditions and procedures, pay dividends or distribute earnings to Hesai Hong Kong Limited. Hesai Hong Kong Limited, in turn, may transfer cash to the Parent through dividends or other distributions. With necessary funds, the Parent may pay dividends or make other distributions to U.S. investors and service any debt it may have incurred outside of mainland China. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Parent transferred nil, US$472.7 million (upon the incorporation of Hesai Hong Kong Limited and through intra-group loans) and nil to Hesai Hong Kong Limited, respectively, Hesai Hong Kong Limited transferred nil, US$332.1 million (through capital injections) and nil to Shanghai Hesai, respectively, and Shanghai Hesai transferred nil, US$3.0 million (through capital injections) and US$8.2 million (through capital injections) to its subsidiaries, respectively.

Cash is also transferred through our organization by way of intra-group transactions. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, Shanghai Hesai transferred US$0.6 million, US$0.8 million and US$1.4 million through service fees and payments for purchasing materials to its subsidiaries, respectively. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, subsidiaries of Shanghai Hesai transferred US$4.7 million, US$1.8 million and US$0.5 million through payments for purchasing materials or finished goods to Shanghai Hesai, respectively. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, Oxigraf, Inc., a subsidiary in the U.S., transferred nil, US$1.3 million and nil through payments for purchasing finished goods to a subsidiary of Shanghai Hesai in mainland China, respectively.

In 2020, 2021 and 2022, no assets other than cash were transferred between the Parent and a subsidiary, no subsidiaries paid dividends or made other distributions to the Parent, and no dividends or distributions were paid or made to U.S. investors.

Under mainland China laws and regulations, we are subject to restrictions on foreign exchange and cross-border cash transfers, including to the Parent and U.S. investors. Our ability to distribute earnings to the Parent and U.S. investors is also limited. We are a Cayman Islands holding company and rely on dividends and other distributions on equity from our mainland China subsidiaries for our cash requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders and service any debt we may incur outside of mainland China. Current mainland China regulations permit our mainland China subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated after-tax profits upon satisfaction of relevant statutory conditions and procedures, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our mainland China subsidiaries is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds until the total amount set aside reaches 50% of its registered capital. These reserves, together with the registered capital, are not distributable as cash dividends. Additionally, if our mainland China subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. In addition, the revenue and assets of our mainland China subsidiaries are generally denominated in Renminbi, which is not freely convertible into other currencies. As a result, any restriction on currency exchange may limit the ability of our mainland China subsidiaries to pay dividends to us. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our mainland China subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our mainland China subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business” and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.”

We have established stringent controls and procedures for cash flows within our organization. Each transfer of cash among our Cayman Islands holding company and our subsidiaries is subject to internal approval. To effect a cash transfer, a number of steps are needed, including but not limited to the issuance of payment receipt, logging into the online banking system and completing its verification process, inspection of the invoice, and payment execution. A single employee is not permitted to complete each and every stage of a cash transfer, but rather only portions of the whole procedure. Only the finance department is authorized to make cash transfers. Within the finance department, the roles of payment approval, payment execution, record keeping, and auditing are segregated to minimize risk.

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The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act

Pursuant to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCAA, if the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspections by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, for two consecutive years, the SEC will prohibit our shares or the ADSs from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States. On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued a report to notify the SEC of its determination that the PCAOB was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong, including our auditor. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB issued a report that vacated its December 16, 2021 determination and removed mainland China and Hong Kong from the list of jurisdictions where it is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms. For this reason, we do not expect to be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer under the HFCAA after we file this annual report on Form 20-F. Each year, the PCAOB will determine whether it can inspect and investigate completely audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong, among other jurisdictions. If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we would be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer following the filing of the annual report on Form 20-F for the relevant fiscal year. There can be no assurance that we would not be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for any future fiscal year, and if we were so identified for two consecutive years, we would become subject to the prohibition on trading under the HFCAA. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — The PCAOB had historically been unable to inspect our auditor in relation to their audit work.” and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — Our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the HFCAA in the future if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely auditors located in China. The delisting of the ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment.”

A.Selected Financial Data

The following selected combined and consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, selected combined and consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2021 and 2022, and selected combined and consolidated cash flows data for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022 have been derived from our audited combined and consolidated financial statements, which are included in this annual report beginning on page F-1. Our selected combined and consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss for the year ended December 31, 2019, selected combined and consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2019 and 2020, and selected combined and consolidated cash flow data for the year ended December 31, 2019 have been derived from our audited combined and consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report.

Our combined and consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or U.S. GAAP. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods. You should read this Selected Combined and Consolidated Financial Data section together with our combined and consolidated financial statements and the related notes in conjunction with “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” included elsewhere in this annual report.

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The following table presents our selected combined and consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022:

For the Year Ended December 31,

2019

2020

2021

2022

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

US$

(in thousands, except for share amount and per share data)

Selected Combined and Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss:

  

    

  

    

  

    

  

    

  

Net revenues

348,084

 

415,514

 

720,768

 

1,202,670

 

174,371

Cost of revenues

(103,377)

 

(176,600)

 

(338,972)

 

(730,683)

 

(105,939)

Gross profit

244,707

 

238,914

 

381,796

 

471,987

 

68,432

Operating expenses:

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Sales and marketing expenses

(38,740)

 

(49,904)

 

(69,266)

 

(104,835)

 

(15,200)

General and administrative expenses

 

(55,112)

 

(76,553)

 

(236,713)

 

(201,007)

 

(29,143)

Research and development expenses

 

(149,817)

 

(229,653)

 

(368,435)

 

(555,179)

 

(80,493)

Litigation settlement expense

 

(160,098)

 

 

 

 

Other operating income, net

 

11,009

 

15,384

 

27,333

 

10,817

 

1,568

Total operating expenses

 

(392,758)

 

(340,726)

 

(647,081)

 

(850,204)

 

(123,268)

Loss from operations

 

(148,051)

 

(101,812)

 

(265,285)

 

(378,217)

 

(54,836)

Interest income

 

19,107

 

20,925

 

32,584

 

58,734

 

8,516

Foreign exchange gain / (loss), net

 

9,619

 

(25,696)

 

(13,275)

 

20,858

 

3,024

Other income/(loss), net

 

41

 

(828)

 

118

 

(2,161)

 

(313)

Net loss before income tax and share of loss in equity method investments

 

(119,284)

 

(107,411)

 

(245,858)

 

(300,786)

 

(43,609)

Income tax (expenses) / benefit

 

(930)

 

199

 

1,115

 

66

 

10

Share of loss in equity method investment

 

(10)

 

(4)

 

(84)

 

(45)

 

(7)

Net loss

 

(120,224)

 

(107,216)

 

(244,827)

 

(300,765)

 

(43,606)

Deemed dividend

 

(55,247)

 

 

(2,211,330)

 

(446,419)

 

(64,725)

Net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of the Company

 

(175,471)

 

(107,216)

 

(2,456,157)

 

(747,184)

 

(108,331)

Net loss per share:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic and diluted

 

(2.20)

 

(1.19)

 

(23.39)

 

(6.47)

 

(0.94)

Weighted average shares used in calculating net loss per share:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic and diluted

 

79,899,201

 

89,895,471

 

104,987,478

 

115,534,593

 

115,534,593

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The following table presents our selected combined and consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022:

As of December 31,

2019

2020

2021

2022

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

US$

(In thousands)

Selected Combined and Consolidated Balance Sheets Data:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents

 

112,737

 

256,688

 

449,352

 

913,277

 

132,413

Short-term investments

 

910,972

 

638,981

 

2,342,743

 

945,865

 

137,138

Accounts receivable

 

36,511

 

56,319

 

85,821

 

485,044

 

70,325

Inventories

 

70,243

 

149,925

 

376,244

 

646,852

 

93,785

Prepayments and other current assets

 

31,835

 

40,658

 

89,119

 

126,452

 

18,333

Total current assets

 

1,170,260

 

1,209,239

 

3,493,359

 

3,135,111

 

454,549

Total assets

 

1,242,362

 

1,312,125

 

3,952,369

 

3,839,396

 

556,660

Accounts payable

 

18,608

 

55,437

 

77,271

 

206,681

 

29,966

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

229,091

 

91,895

 

370,854

 

356,502

 

51,689

Total current liabilities

 

271,168

 

166,740

 

892,158

 

955,538

 

138,540

Total liabilities

 

313,150

 

174,932

 

902,548

 

997,663

 

144,648

Total mezzanine equity

 

1,098,639

 

 

5,540,491

 

5,986,910

 

868,020

Total shareholders’ (deficit)/equity

 

(169,427)

 

1,137,193

 

(2,490,670)

 

(3,145,177)

 

(456,008)

Total liabilities, mezzanine equity and shareholders’ equity

 

1,242,362

 

1,312,125

 

3,952,369

 

3,839,396

 

556,660

The following table presents our selected combined and consolidated statements of cash flows data for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022:

For the Year Ended December 31,

2019

2020

2021

2022

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

US$

(In thousands)

Selected Combined and Consolidated Cash Flows Data:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net cash provided by/(used in) operating activities

 

46,166

 

(352,015)

 

(228,386)

 

(696,015)

 

(100,914)

Net cash (used in)/provided by investing activities

 

(779,497)

 

179,027

 

(1,980,237)

 

1,119,646

 

162,332

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

739,741

 

323,437

 

2,403,726

 

15,176

 

2,200

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents

 

6,410

 

150,449

 

195,103

 

438,807

 

63,618

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year

 

104,336

 

112,737

 

256,688

 

449,352

 

65,150

Effect of foreign currency exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents

 

1,991

 

(6,498)

 

(2,439)

 

25,118

 

3,645

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year

 

112,737

 

256,688

 

449,352

 

913,277

 

132,413

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not Applicable.

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not Applicable.

D.

Risk Factors

Summary of Risk Factors

Investing in our ADSs involves significant risks. You should carefully consider all of the information in this annual report before making an investment in our ADSs. Below please find a summary of the principal risks we face, organized under relevant headings. These risks are discussed more fully in Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors.

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Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We are an early-stage company with a history of losses, and we may not be able to achieve profitability in the future.
Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter.
Our LiDAR products used on vehicles are highly complex and may contain defects or otherwise fail to perform in line with expectations, which could reduce the market adoption of our new products, damage our reputation with current or prospective customers, expose us to product liability and other claims and adversely affect our operating results.
If our LiDAR products are not selected by automotive or robot OEMs or their suppliers, our business will be materially and adversely affected.
We currently have and target many customers that are large corporations with substantial negotiating power, exacting product standards and potentially competitive internal solutions. If we are unable to sell our products to these customers or do so on terms acceptable to us, our prospects and results of operations will be adversely affected.
Our ability to develop, manufacture, and deliver LiDAR products of high quality and appeal to customers, on schedule, and on a large scale is still evolving.
We are early in our efforts to develop and commercialize our in-house ASICs, and we cannot assure you that such efforts will succeed.
We operate in highly competitive markets and some market participants have substantially greater resources. We compete against a large number of both established competitors and new market entrants.
Although we believe that LiDAR is the industry standard for ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and certain other emerging markets, market adoption of LiDAR is uncertain. If market adoption of LiDAR does not continue to develop, or develops more slowly than we expect, our business will be adversely affected.
The PCAOB had historically been unable to inspect our auditor in relation to their audit work.
Our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the HFCAA in the future if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely auditors located in China. The delisting of the ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

The PRC government has significant authority in regulating our operations and may influence or intervene in our operations at any time. Actions by the PRC government to exert control over offerings conducted overseas by, and foreign investment in, China-based issuers could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless. Implementation of industry-wide regulations in this nature may also cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or become worthless. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — The PRC government has significant oversight and discretion over our business operation, and it may influence or intervene in our operations at any time as part of its efforts to enforce mainland China law, which could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs.”
Uncertainties exist with respect to how the PRC Foreign Investment Law may impact the viability of our current corporate structure and operations.
Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

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Risks and uncertainties arising from the legal system in China, including risks and uncertainties regarding the enforcement of laws and the fact that rules and regulations in China may evolve quickly with any public consultation and advanced notice period being relatively short in terms of the time that we may need to fully adapt to such changes, all of which could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Uncertainties with respect to the mainland China legal system could materially and adversely affect us.”
The approval and/or other requirements of the CSRC or other mainland China governmental authorities may be required in connection with our issuance of securities overseas under mainland China rules, regulations or policies, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such other requirements.
Any failure to comply with the various applicable laws and regulations related to data security and cybersecurity could affect our offshore listing and lead to liabilities, penalties or other regulatory actions, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to mainland China laws and regulations restricting capital flows which may affect our liquidity. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our mainland China subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our mainland China subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business” and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Mainland China regulation of loans to and direct investment in mainland China entities by offshore holding companies may delay or prevent us from making loans or additional capital contributions to our mainland China subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.”
China’s M&A Rules and certain other mainland China regulations establish complex procedures for certain acquisitions of mainland China companies, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in mainland China.

Risks Related to Our ADSs

·

The trading price of the ADSs has been and is likely to continue to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

·

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements.

·

Our dual-class share structure with different voting rights will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class B ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We are an early-stage company with a history of losses, and we may not be able to achieve profitability in the future.

We have a history of net losses. We incurred net losses of RMB107.2 million, RMB244.8 million and RMB300.8 million (US$43.6 million) in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. We may continue to incur operating and net losses in the foreseeable future. Our potential profitability is dependent upon continued increase in customer needs for our LiDAR products and our success in competing against other participants in the markets in which we operate, which may not occur.

Our revenues may not grow sufficiently to offset the increase in our expenses as we:

continue to invest in the design and upgrading of our LiDAR products;
expand our production capabilities to produce our LiDAR products, including constructing new manufacturing facilities;
enhance our efforts to develop and commercialize LiDAR products for Robotics and other emerging markets;

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expand our design, development, installation and servicing capabilities;
continue to build up inventories of parts and components for our LiDAR products;
hire additional engineers and other personnel as we expand our business; and
increase our sales and marketing activities and develop our distribution infrastructure.

Because we will incur the costs and expenses from these efforts before we receive incremental revenues with respect thereto, our losses in future periods could be significant. In addition, we may find that these efforts are more expensive than we currently anticipate or that these efforts may not result in revenues, which would further increase our losses. Such losses may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and the price of our ADSs.

Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter.

We have been focused on developing our LiDAR products since 2016. This relatively limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter. Risks and challenges we have faced or expect to face include our ability to:

produce and deliver LiDAR and software products of acceptable performance;
develop and commercialize our in-house ASICs;
forecast our revenue and budget for and manage our expenses;
attract new customers and retain existing customers;
comply with existing and new or modified laws and regulations applicable to our business;
plan for and manage capital expenditures for our current and future products, and manage our supply chain and supplier relationships related to our current and future products;
anticipate and respond to macroeconomic changes and changes in the markets in which we operate;
maintain and enhance the value of our reputation and brand;
effectively manage our growth and business operations, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business;
develop and protect intellectual property;
hire, integrate and retain talented people at all levels of our organization; and
successfully develop new solutions to enhance the experience of customers.

If we fail to address the risks and difficulties that we face, including those associated with the challenges listed above as well as those described elsewhere in this section, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Further, because we have limited historical financial data and operate in a rapidly evolving market, any predictions about our future revenue and expenses may not be as accurate as they would be if we had a longer operating history or operated in a more predictable market. We have encountered in the past, and will encounter in the future, risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies with limited operating histories in rapidly changing industries. If our assumptions regarding these risks and uncertainties, which we use to plan and operate our business, are incorrect or change, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our results of operations could differ materially from our expectations and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

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Our LiDAR products used on vehicles are highly complex and may contain defects or otherwise fail to perform in line with expectations, which could reduce the market adoption of our new products, damage our reputation with current or prospective customers, expose us to product liability and other claims and adversely affect our operating results.

We sell the majority of our LiDAR products to Autonomous Mobility companies to be installed on vehicles. Those products are highly technical and very complex and require high standards to manufacture and have in the past and will likely in the future experience defects, errors or reliability issues at various stages of development. We may be unable to timely release new products, manufacture existing products, correct problems that have arisen or correct such problems to our customers’ satisfaction. Additionally, undetected errors, defects or security vulnerabilities, especially as new products are introduced or as new versions are released, could result in serious injury or even death to the end users of technology incorporating our products, or those in the surrounding area, litigation against us, negative publicity and other consequences. These risks are particularly prevalent in the highly competitive Autonomous Mobility and ADAS markets. Some errors or defects in our products may only be discovered after they have been tested, commercialized and deployed by customers, in which case we may incur significant additional development costs and product recall, repair or replacement costs. These problems may also result in claims, including class actions, against us by our customers or others. Our reputation or brand may be damaged as a result of these problems and customers may be reluctant to buy our products, which could adversely affect our ability to retain existing customers and attract new customers and could adversely affect our financial results.

In addition, we could face material legal claims for breach of contract, product liability, fraud, tort or breach of warranty as a result of these problems. Defending a lawsuit, regardless of its merit, could be costly and may divert management’s attention and adversely affect the market’s perception of us and our products. In addition, our insurance coverage could prove inadequate with respect to a claim and future coverage may be unavailable on acceptable terms or at all.

Furthermore, any defects in or significant malfunctioning of our LiDAR products may weaken customer confidence in LiDAR products. As the markets for LiDAR products are emerging and evolving, loss of customer confidence in LiDAR products could have a material adverse impact on the future of such markets in general and our business prospects in particular.

If our LiDAR products are not selected by automotive or robot OEMs or their suppliers, our business will be materially and adversely affected.

Automotive and robot OEMs and their suppliers typically design and develop ADAS, Autonomous Mobility, Robotics and other key technologies over several years. These OEMs and suppliers undertake extensive testing or qualification processes prior to placing orders for large quantities of products such as our LiDAR products, because such products will function as part of a larger system or platform and must meet certain other specifications. We spend significant time and resources to have our products selected by automotive and robot OEMs and their suppliers. If our LiDAR products are not selected by an automotive or robot OEM with respect to a particular vehicle or robot model, we may not have an opportunity to supply our products to the OEM for that model for a period of many years. If our LiDAR products are not selected by an OEM or its suppliers for one vehicle or robot model or if our LiDAR products are not successful in that model, it is unlikely that our product will be deployed in other models of that OEM. If we fail to win a significant number of vehicle or robot models from one or more of automotive or robot OEMs or their suppliers, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.

Furthermore, even if our products are selected and we enter into framework agreements with OEMs or their suppliers, as we have with many of our customers, we cannot assure you such framework agreements will always materialize into actual purchase orders, as in such agreements, our counterparties often retain the discretion as to whether and when to place orders for our products, and our supply of products may be subject to other conditions such as meeting certain development milestones.

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We currently have and target many customers that are large corporations with substantial negotiating power, exacting product standards and potentially competitive internal solutions. If we are unable to sell our products to these customers or do so on terms acceptable to us, our prospects and results of operations will be adversely affected.

Many of our customers and potential customers are large, multinational corporations with substantial negotiating power relative to us and, in some instances, may have internal solutions that are competitive to our products. These large, multinational corporations also have significant development resources, which may allow them to acquire or develop independently, or in partnership with others, competitive technologies. Meeting the technical requirements of any of these companies and being selected by them for supplying LiDAR products will require a substantial investment of our time and resources. We cannot assure you that our LiDAR products will be selected by these or other companies or that we will generate meaningful revenue or profit from the sales of our products to these key potential customers. If our products are not selected by these large corporations or if these corporations develop or acquire competitive technology, it will have an adverse effect on our business.

Our ability to develop, manufacture, and deliver LiDAR products of high quality and appeal to customers, on schedule, and on a large scale is still evolving.

The sustainability of our business depends, in large part, on our ability to timely execute our plan to develop, manufacture, and deliver on a large scale LiDAR products of high quality and appeal to customers. Our current manufacturing facility, together with a transitional production line, supports an annual production capacity of 35,000 units for the non-AT series, plus a monthly production capacity of approximately 20,000 units for the AT series. To date we have limited LiDAR manufacturing experience to balance production volume and product quality and appeal, and therefore cannot assure you that we will be able to achieve our targeted production volume of commercially viable LiDAR products on a timely basis, or at all.

Our continued development, manufacturing, and delivery of LiDAR products of high quality to achieve our targeted production volume are and will be subject to risks, including with respect to:

lack of necessary funding;
delays or disruptions in our supply chain;
quality control deficiencies;
compliance with environmental, workplace safety, and relevant regulations; and
cost overruns.

As we operate in highly competitive and rapidly evolving markets, to remain competitive, we may be required to introduce new LiDAR models earlier or more frequently than originally planned. We cannot assure you that any future models we launch will appeal to the customers as we expect or that any introduction of new models will not affect the sales of existing models.

Furthermore, we rely on third-party suppliers for the provision and development of many of the key components and materials used in our LiDAR products. To the extent our suppliers experience any difficulties in providing us with or developing necessary components, we could experience delays in delivering products. Any delay in the development, manufacturing, and delivery of LiDAR products could subject us to customer complaints and materially and adversely affect our reputation, demand for our products, and our growth prospects.

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We are early in our efforts to develop and commercialize our in-house ASICs, and we cannot assure you that such efforts will succeed.

We established a dedicated team within our organization to develop our in-house ASICs at the end of 2017. Since then, we have made significant progress in the development, production and application of our ASIC technology and products. Our current ASIC products are sophisticated and technologically advanced in many aspects. However, due to the short history, our in-house ASICs remain in a relatively early developmental and production stage and subject to significant technological and functional limitations. We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to refine and upgrade our ASIC technology to achieve market-leading quality and functionality. In addition, we are early in our efforts to apply our ASIC technology to LiDAR products. We may fail in our efforts to commercialize our ASIC technology despite the significant research and development, or R&D, and sales and marketing costs we have incurred and expect to incur, in which case our financial performance and business prospects will suffer.

We operate in highly competitive markets and some market participants have substantially greater resources. We compete against a large number of both established competitors and new market entrants.

The markets for sensing technology applicable to autonomous solutions in the automobile and Robotics industries are highly competitive. Our future success will depend on our ability to remain a leader in our targeted markets by continuing to develop and protect from infringement advanced LiDAR technology in a timely manner and to stay ahead of existing and new competitors. Our competitors are numerous and they compete with us directly by offering LiDAR products and indirectly by attempting to solve some of the same challenges with different technology. We face competition from camera and radar companies, other developers of LiDAR products, and other technology and automotive and Robotics supply companies, some of which have significantly greater resources than we do. In the automotive market, our competitors have commercialized both LiDAR- and non-LiDAR-incorporated ADAS technology that has achieved market adoption, strong brand recognition and may continue to improve. Other competitors are working towards commercializing Autonomous Mobility technology and either by themselves, or with a partner, have substantial financial, marketing, R&D and other resources. Some of our customers in the ADAS and Autonomous Mobility markets have announced development efforts or made acquisitions directed at creating their own LiDAR-incorporated or other sensing technologies, which would compete with our solutions, although we do not know how close these competitors are to commercializing novel ADAS applications or Autonomous Mobility systems. In markets outside of the automotive industry, such as the Robotics industry, our competitors, like us, seek to develop new sensing applications. Even in these emerging markets, we face substantial competition from numerous competitors seeking to prove the value of their technology.

Additionally, increased competition may result in pricing pressure and reduced margins and may impede our ability to increase the sales of our products or cause us to lose market share, any of which will adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Although we believe that LiDAR is the industry standard for ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and certain other emerging markets, market adoption of LiDAR is uncertain. If market adoption of LiDAR does not continue to develop, or develops more slowly than we expect, our business will be adversely affected.

While our LiDAR products can be applied to different uses across end markets, a substantial part of our revenue is generated from automotive applications. Despite the fact that the automotive industry has engaged in considerable effort to research and test LiDAR products for ADAS and Autonomous Mobility applications, the automotive industry may not introduce LiDAR products in commercially available vehicles or do so on a large scale. We continually study emerging and competing sensing technologies and methodologies and we may add new sensing technologies. However, LiDAR products remain relatively new and it is possible that other sensing modalities, or a new disruptive modality based on new or existing technology, including a combination of technologies, will achieve acceptance or leadership in the ADAS and Autonomous Mobility industries. Even if LiDAR products are used in initial generations of certain ADAS products and Autonomous Mobility technology, we cannot guarantee that LiDAR products will be designed into or included in subsequent generations of such commercialized technology. In addition, we expect that initial generations of autonomous vehicles will be focused on limited applications, such as robotaxis, and that mass market adoption of autonomous technology may lag behind these initial applications significantly. The speed of market growth for ADAS or Autonomous Mobility is difficult if not impossible to predict, and it is more difficult to predict this market’s future growth in light of the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Although we currently believe we are a leader in LiDAR-incorporated systems for the autonomous vehicle market, by the time mass market adoption of autonomous vehicle technology is achieved, we expect competition among providers of sensing technology based on LiDAR and other modalities to increase substantially. If commercialization of LiDAR products is not successful, or not as successful as we or the market expects, or if other sensing modalities gain acceptance by developers of ADAS or Autonomous Mobility systems, automotive OEMs, regulators and safety organizations or other market participants by the time autonomous vehicle technology achieves mass market adoption, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.

We are investing in and pursuing market opportunities outside of the automotive markets, including in the Robotics sector. We believe that our future revenue growth, if any, will depend in part on our ability to expand within new markets such as Robotics and to enter new markets as they emerge. Each of these markets presents distinct risks and, in many cases, requires us to address the particular requirements of that market.

Addressing these requirements can be time-consuming and costly. The market for LiDAR technology outside of automotive applications is relatively new, rapidly developing and unproven in many markets or industries. Some of our customers outside of the automotive industry are still in the testing and development phases and we cannot be certain that they will commercialize products or systems with our LiDAR products or at all. We cannot be certain that LiDAR will be sold into these markets, or any market outside of the automotive market, at scale. Adoption of LiDAR products, including our products, outside of the automotive industry will depend on numerous factors, including: whether the technological capabilities of LiDAR and LiDAR-incorporated products meet users’ current or anticipated needs, whether the benefits of designing LiDAR into larger sensing systems outweigh the costs, complexity and time needed to deploy such technology or replace or modify existing systems that may have used other modalities such as cameras and radar, whether users in other applications can move beyond the testing and development phases and proceed to commercializing systems supported by LiDAR technology and whether LiDAR developers such as us can keep pace with rapid technological change in certain developing markets and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the length of any associated work stoppages. If LiDAR technology does not achieve commercial success outside of the automotive industry, or if the market develops at a pace slower than we expect, our business, results of operation and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.

We continue to implement strategic initiatives designed to grow our business, including developing new technologies and products. We cannot assure you that our choices of technologies and products to focus on will prove correct, or that our initiatives will succeed and bring sufficient growth in revenue to offset the costs.

We continue to make investments and implement initiatives designed to grow our business. In particular, we have formulated plans to focus our R&D efforts on certain new technologies and products which we believe will be essential to our future growth. For example, for the ADAS market, we are seeking to pack more laser/detector channels in the AT series at lower cost. Similar upgrades may happen to other product lines to enhance performance while lowering the cost. However, as the LiDAR markets are new and rapidly evolving and we have a short operating history and limited experience, we cannot assure you that our choices of technologies and products to focus on will prove correct. In the event that our new technologies and products fail to be adopted by the market, our business prospects and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, our strategic initiatives may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue, if at all, in an amount sufficient to offset these higher expenses and to achieve and maintain profitability. The market opportunities we are pursuing are at an early stage of development, and it is difficult to predict the size and growth rate of our target markets, customer demand for our products, commercialization timelines, developments in autonomous sensing and related technology, the entry of competitive products, or the success of existing competitive products and services. If our revenue does not grow over the long term, our ability to achieve and maintain profitability may be adversely affected, and the value of our business may significantly decrease.

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We have been and may continue to be negatively impacted by the ongoing global chip shortage.

As we are early in our efforts to develop and apply our in-house ASICs, we remain dependent on third-party chips for our LiDAR products. The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in supply chains and logistics, which in turn impacted the production and supply of chips around the globe. The increase in global demand for products such as personal computers owing to some countries’ shift to a stay-at-home economy has further increased the demand for chips and exacerbated the shortage. The shortage in chip supplies has led to increases in the prices of chips and has caused chip producers to allocate available chips more selectively among their customers across these industries. We have experienced difficulty in securing sufficient and prompt chip supplies, including automotive grade receivers and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) chips, due to the ongoing global chip shortage, and our business operation and financial performance have suffered as a result. As the shortage continues or even worsens, we may not be able to obtain adequate supplies of chips on commercially acceptable terms or at all, and as a result we may fail to fulfill our customers’ orders. Any failure to fulfill our customers’ orders could cause us to record lower sales and lose customers. We may also need to increase the prices of our products in response to the higher chip costs, which could have a negative impact on our competitiveness.

We rely on third-party suppliers and because some of the raw materials and key components in our products come from limited or single source suppliers, we are susceptible to supply shortages, long lead times for components, and supply changes, any of which could disrupt our supply chain and could delay deliveries of our products to customers.

Some of the components that go into the manufacture of our LiDAR products are sourced from third-party suppliers. Our future success will depend in part on our ability to manage our supply chain to manufacture and deliver our products at scale. We are dependent on certain major suppliers. One supplier accounted for more than 10% of our purchases for each of 2020, 2021 and 2022. We are therefore subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of components that come from limited or single source suppliers and the risk that our suppliers discontinue or modify components used in our products. We have a global supply chain, and the COVID-19 pandemic and other health epidemics and outbreaks may adversely affect our ability to source components in a timely or cost-effective manner from our third-party suppliers due to, among other things, work stoppages or interruptions. For example, our products depend on lasers and we currently consume a substantial portion of the available market. Any shortage of these lasers could materially and adversely affect our ability to manufacture our LiDAR products. In addition, the lead times associated with certain components are lengthy and preclude rapid changes in quantities and delivery schedules. We have in the past experienced and may in the future experience component shortages and price fluctuations of certain key components and materials, and the predictability of the availability and pricing of these components may be limited. Component shortages or pricing fluctuations could be material in the future. In the event of a component shortage, supply interruption or material pricing change from suppliers of these components, we may not be able to develop alternate sources in a timely manner or at all in the case of sole or limited sources. Developing alternate sources of supply for these components may be time-consuming, difficult, and costly and we may not be able to source these components on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, which may undermine our ability to meet our requirements or to fill customer orders in a timely manner. Any interruption or delay in the supply of any of these parts or components, or the inability to obtain these parts or components from alternate sources at acceptable prices and within a reasonable amount of time, would adversely affect our ability to meet our scheduled product deliveries to our customers. This could adversely affect our relationships with our customers and channel partners and could cause delays in shipment of our products and adversely affect our operating results. In addition, increased component costs could result in lower gross margins. Even where we are able to pass increased component costs along to our customers, there may be a lapse of time before we are able to do so such that we must absorb the increased cost. If we are unable to buy these components in quantities sufficient to meet our requirements on a timely basis, we will not be able to deliver products to our customers, which may result in such customers using competitive products instead of ours.

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We may be unable to adequately control the costs associated with our operations.

We have devoted significant capital to developing and growing our business, including developing and manufacturing our LiDAR products, our in-house ASICs, purchasing equipment, constructing our manufacturing facilities, procuring required raw materials, and building our sales and servicing infrastructure. We expect to further incur significant costs that will impact our profitability, including R&D expenses as we roll out new LiDAR and ASIC models and improve existing models, expenditures in the expansion of our manufacturing capacities, additional operating costs and expenses for production ramp-up, raw material and key component procurement costs, and selling and distribution expenses as we build our brand and market our products. In particular, the prices for raw materials and components fluctuate upon factors beyond our control, and could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Substantial increases in the prices for key raw materials or components such as automotive grade chips would increase our cost of revenues and our operating expenses, and could reduce our margins. Furthermore, currency fluctuations, tariffs and other economic or political conditions may result in significant increases in freight charges and raw material costs. In addition, we may lose control over the increase of costs in connection with our services including after-sale services. Our ability to become profitable in the future will not only depend on our ability to successfully market our LiDAR products and other products and services but also our ability to control our costs. If we are unable to design, develop, manufacture, market, sell, and service our products and provide services in a cost-efficient manner, our margins, profitability, and prospects would be materially and adversely affected.

We expect to incur substantial R&D costs and devote significant resources to identifying and commercializing new products, which could significantly reduce our profitability and may never result in revenue to us.

Our future growth depends on penetrating new markets, adapting existing products to new applications and customer requirements, and introducing new products that achieve market acceptance. We plan to incur substantial, and potentially increasing, R&D costs as part of our efforts to design, develop, manufacture and commercialize new products and enhance existing products. Our R&D expenses were RMB229.7 million, RMB368.4 million and RMB555.2 million (US$80.5 million) for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively, and are likely to grow in the future. Because we account for R&D as an operating expense, these expenditures will adversely affect our results of operations in the future.

Further, our R&D program may not produce successful results, and our new products may not achieve market acceptance, create additional revenue or become profitable.

The markets in which we compete are characterized by rapid technological change, which requires us to continue to develop new products and product innovations and could adversely affect market adoption of our products.

While we intend to invest substantial resources to remain on the forefront of technological development, continuing technological changes in sensing technology, LiDAR and the markets for these products, including the ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics industries, could adversely affect adoption of LiDAR and/or our products, either generally or for particular applications. Our future success will depend upon our ability to develop and introduce a variety of new capabilities and innovations to our existing product offerings, as well as introduce a variety of new product offerings, to address the changing needs of the markets in which we offer our products. For example, we cannot guarantee that the new products we are currently working on will be released in a timely manner, or at all, or will achieve market acceptance. Delays in delivering new products that meet customer requirements could damage our relationships with customers and lead them to seek alternative sources of supply. In addition, our success to date has been based on the delivery of our products to R&D programs in which developers are investing substantial capital to develop new systems. Our continued success relies on the success of the R&D phase of these customers as they expand into commercialized projects. As autonomous technology reaches the stage of large-scale commercialization, we will be required to develop and deliver solutions at price points that enable wider and ultimately mass-market adoption. Delays in introducing products and innovations, failure to choose correctly among technical alternatives or failure to offer innovative products or configurations at competitive prices may cause existing and potential customers to purchase our competitors’ products or turn to alternative sensing technology.

If we are unable to devote adequate resources to developing products or cannot otherwise successfully develop products or system configurations that meet customer requirements on a timely basis or that remain competitive with technological alternatives, our products could lose market share, our revenue will decline, we may experience operating losses and our business and prospects will be adversely affected.

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We may experience difficulties in managing our growth and expanding our operations.

We have expanded our operations, and as we ramp up our development, production and sales, significant expansion will be required. Our future operating results depend to a large extent on our ability to manage this expansion and growth successfully. Risks that we face in undertaking this expansion include, among others:

managing our supply chain to support fast business growth;
managing a larger organization with a greater number of employees in different divisions;
controlling expenses and investments in anticipation of expanded operations;
establishing or expanding new product development, manufacturing, sales, and service facilities;
implementing and enhancing administrative infrastructure, systems, and processes;
improving our operational, financial and management controls, compliance programs and reporting systems; and
addressing new markets and potentially unforeseen challenges as they arise.

Any failure to manage our growth effectively could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

Continued pricing pressures may result in lower than anticipated margins, or losses, which may adversely affect our business.

Cost-cutting initiatives adopted by our customers often result in increased downward pressure on pricing. In addition, many of our customers, particularly automotive OEMs, possess significant leverage over their suppliers, including us, because they are large multinational companies with substantial negotiating power and the automotive component supply industry is inherently highly competitive, serves a limited number of customers and has a high fixed cost base. The growing competition among both established players and new market entrants in the industry further exacerbates the pricing pressures we face.

Accordingly, we expect to be subject to substantial continuing pressure from automotive OEMs and other major customers to reduce the price of our products. It is possible that pricing pressures beyond our expectations could intensify as customers including automotive OEMs pursue restructuring, consolidation and cost-cutting initiatives. The change in the pricing and mix of our products, including the launch of new products with lower selling price, may negatively affect our cost structure and overall margin profile. Our cost structure may be further affected by the underutilization of our manufacturing facilities as we ramp up the production process, and the fluctuated demand for and sales of our products, which are beyond our control. If we are unable to generate sufficient production cost savings in the future to offset price reductions, our gross margin and profitability would be adversely affected.

Our business has been and may continue to be adversely affected by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic or other health epidemics and outbreaks.

Since late 2019, the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus named COVID-19 has materially and adversely affected the global economy. In response, China imposed widespread lockdowns, closure of workplaces and restrictions on mobility and travel to contain the spread of the virus. After the initial outbreak in late 2019, from time to time, some instances of COVID-19 infections have emerged in various regions of China, including infections caused by the Omicron variant. For example, a wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant emerged in Shanghai in early 2022, and a series of restrictions and quarantines were implemented to contain the spread. Our self-built manufacturing facility was not producing at full capacity for approximately two months when these restrictive measures were in force, which negatively affected our operational and financial results. China began to modify its zero-COVID policy at the end of 2022, and most of the travel restrictions and quarantine requirements were lifted in December. There were surges of cases in many cities during this time, and there remains uncertainty as to the future impact of the virus, especially in light of this change in policy. We cannot be assured that more lockdowns and other restrictive measures will not be implemented in the future. Some other countries, including the U.S., also introduced various restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Our business has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in supply chains and logistics, which in turn impacted the production and supply of chips around the globe and resulted in the continued global chip shortage that has negatively impacted our business operation and financial performance. See “— We have been and may continue to be negatively impacted by the ongoing global chip shortage.” In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused companies in China and elsewhere, including us and our suppliers and customers, to implement temporary adjustment of work schedules and travel plans, mandating employees to work from home and collaborate remotely. As a result, we have experienced lower efficiency and productivity, internally and externally, which adversely affected our business operation.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as other possible health epidemics and outbreaks could continue to have a material adverse impact on our or our customers’ business operations including reduction or suspension of operations in China, the U.S. or certain parts of the world. Our engineering and manufacturing operations, among others, cannot all be conducted in a remote working structure and often require on-site access to materials and equipment. We have customers with international operations in varying industries. We also depend on suppliers and manufacturers worldwide. Depending upon the duration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the associated business interruptions, our customers, suppliers, manufacturers and partners may suspend or delay their engagement with us, which could result in a material adverse effect on our financial condition. Our response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may prove to be inadequate and we may be unable to continue our operations in the manner we had prior to the outbreak, and may endure interruptions, reputational harm, delays in our product development and shipments, all of which could have an adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition. In addition, when the pandemic subsides, we cannot assure you as to the timing of any economic recovery, which could continue to have a material adverse effect on our target markets and our business.

The PCAOB had historically been unable to inspect our auditor in relation to their audit work.

Our auditor, the independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit report included elsewhere in this annual report, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. The auditor is located in mainland China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB was historically unable to conduct inspections and investigations completely before 2022. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China in the past has made it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB issued a report that vacated its December 16, 2021 determination and removed mainland China and Hong Kong from the list of jurisdictions where it is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms. However, if the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong, and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we and investors in our ADSs would be deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in the ADSs to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

Our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the HFCAA in the future if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely auditors located in China. The delisting of the ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment.

Pursuant to the HFCAA, if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspections by the PCAOB for two consecutive years, the SEC will prohibit our shares or ADSs from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States.

On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued a report to notify the SEC of its determination that the PCAOB was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong and our auditor was subject to that determination. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB removed mainland China and Hong Kong from the list of jurisdictions where it is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms.

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Each year, the PCAOB will determine whether it can inspect and investigate completely audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong, among other jurisdictions. If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we would be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer following the filing of the annual report on Form 20-F for the relevant fiscal year. In accordance with the HFCAA, our securities would be prohibited from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States if we are identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for two consecutive years in the future. If our shares and ADSs are prohibited from trading in the United States, there is no certainty that we will be able to list on a non-U.S. exchange or that a market for our shares will develop outside of the United States. A prohibition of being able to trade in the United States would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ADSs when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our ADSs. Also, such a prohibition would significantly affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, which would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and prospects.

The current tensions in international trade and rising political tensions, particularly between the United States and China, may adversely impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Although we are a primarily China-based company, we have operations in the U.S. and many of our major customers and suppliers are located in the U.S. and other countries outside of China. In addition, certain of our technologies, such as technologies relating to autonomous driving applications, could be subject to restrictions by the U.S. government in the future. Therefore, government policies restricting international trade and investment, such as capital controls, economic or trade sanctions, export controls, tariffs or foreign investment filings and approvals, may affect the demand for our products and services, impact the competitive position of our products, or prevent us from being able to sell products in certain countries. If any new tariffs, legislation, or regulations are implemented (including those imposing economic or trade sanctions, export control restrictions or outbound investments restrictions), or if existing trade agreements are renegotiated, such changes could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Recently, there have been heightened tensions in international economic relations, such as that between the United States and China, but also as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. More recently, the U.S. Department of Commerce published an interim final rule that introduces novel restrictions related to semiconductor, semiconductor manufacturing, supercomputer, and advanced computing items and end uses in China. These sanctions and export controls could adversely affect us and/or our supply chain, business partners, or customers.

The U.S. government has imposed, and has proposed to impose additional, new, or higher tariffs on certain products imported from China to penalize China for what it characterizes as unfair trade practices. China has responded by imposing, and proposing to impose additional, new, or higher tariffs on certain products imported from the United States. Following mutual retaliatory actions for months, on January 15, 2020, the United States and China entered into the Economic and Trade Agreement between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China as a phase one trade deal, effective on February 14, 2020. In addition, the U.S. government has issued new rules that expanded the definition of military end use and eliminated the applicability of certain license exceptions for exports to countries including China, thereby expanding the export license requirements for U.S. companies to sell certain items to companies in China that have operations that could support military end uses. The U.S. government has also broadened the restrictions on the sale of goods manufactured outside the United States that are produced using certain controlled U.S.-origin technology or software to companies on a special list, or the Entity List, and the restrictions on the use of U.S.-origin semiconductor manufacturing equipment that produces semiconductor devices for companies on the Entity List.

In addition, political tensions between the United States and China have escalated due to, among other things, trade disputes, the COVID-19 outbreak, tensions over Taiwan sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury on certain officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the PRC central government, the executive orders issued by former U.S. President Donald J. Trump in August 2020 that prohibit certain transactions with certain Chinese companies, and various restrictions related to the Chinese semiconductor industry imposed by the U.S. government. Against this backdrop, China has implemented, and may further implement, measures in response to the changing trade policies, treaties, tariffs and sanctions and restrictions against Chinese companies initiated by the U.S. government.

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On September 19, 2020, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (“MOFCOM”) promulgated the Regulations on the List of Unreliable Entities, or MOFCOM Order No. 4 of 2020. A working mechanism composed of relevant government agencies will be established to administer the regime of the List of Unreliable Entities. A foreign entity that is designated onto the List of Unreliable Entities may be subject to several measures, including but not limited to: (i) being restricted or prohibited from engaging in import or export activities related to China; and (ii) being restricted or prohibited from investing in China. When an enterprise, organization, or individual of China must conduct business with a designated foreign entity in special circumstances, the enterprise, organization, or individual shall submit an application to the working mechanism for approval, and only when approval is granted may such enterprise, organization, or individual conduct the corresponding transaction.

On January 9, 2021, the MOFCOM promulgated the Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extra-Territorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures, or MOFCOM Order No. 1 of 2021. Pursuant to MOFCOM Order No. 1 of 2021, where a citizen, legal person or other organization of China is prohibited or restricted by foreign legislation and other measures from engaging in normal economic, trade and related activities with a third nation (or region) or its citizens, legal persons or other organizations, they shall truthfully report such matters to the competent department of commerce of the State Council within 30 days. The working mechanism, with the participation of relevant departments of central government authorities, will take the following factors into account when assessing whether there exists unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign legislation and other measures: (i) whether international law or the basic principles of international relations are violated; (ii) potential impact on China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests; (iii) potential impact on the legitimate rights and interests of the citizens, legal persons or other organizations of China; and (iv) other factors that shall be taken into account. If it is determined that there exists unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign legislation and other measures, MOFCOM may issue an injunction that the relevant foreign legislation and other measures shall not be accepted, executed, or observed. A citizen, legal person or other organization in China may apply for exemption from compliance with an injunction.

On June 10, 2021, the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, or the SCNPC passed the Countering Foreign Sanctions Law, which became effective immediately. The Countering Foreign Sanctions Law provides a legal basis not only for the Chinese government to take action in response to foreign sanctions, but also for Chinese citizens and organizations to bring civil actions for injunctive relief or damages. Under the Countering Foreign Sanctions Law, the competent department of the State Council may place any individuals and organizations that are directly or indirectly involved in making, determining, or implementing the discriminatory restrictive measures as provided therein on the Countermeasure List. A foreign individual or organization on the Countermeasure List may be subject to one or several countermeasures, including but not limited to prohibitions or restrictions on commercial transactions, cooperation or such other activities with organizations and individuals within the territory of China. Furthermore, pursuant to the Countering Foreign Sanctions Law, any organization and individual within the territory of China shall comply with the countermeasures. Any organization or individual who fails to comply or cooperate in implementing the countermeasures may be held liable in accordance with law.

Since the MOFCOM Order No. 4 of 2020, the MOFCOM Order No. 1 of 2021 and the Countering Foreign Sanctions Law are newly enacted, there is a high degree of uncertainty with respect to how they will be interpreted and implemented.

Rising political tensions could reduce levels of trade, investment, technological exchange, and other economic activities between the two major economies, which would have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets. Any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our and our customers’ business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations.

As our business depends on markets and supplies located overseas, tariffs and export control measures taken by the PRC, U.S. or any other government or other trade tensions or unfavorable trade policies may affect the costs and/or marketability of our products. Currently, exports of our LiDAR products to the U.S. are subject to 25% tariffs imposed pursuant to Section 301 of Trade Act of 1974. The current international trade tensions and political tensions between the United States and China, and any escalation of such tensions, may have a material negative impact on our ability to secure the supply of raw materials and key components necessary for our operations and our ability to continue to sell to global customers and further grow our customer base. For example, while we are not currently affected by the Entity List or other U.S. export control laws or regulations in any material respect, as the Entity List and other U.S. export control laws and regulations continue to expand and evolve, future U.S. export controls may materially affect or target some of our significant suppliers or customers, in which event our business may be affected if we fail to promptly secure alternative sources of supply or demand on terms acceptable to us. While certain of our items manufactured in China contain a small number of components subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR), our items manufactured in China are not themselves subject to the EAR. Our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be significantly affected by the continued international trade and political tensions.

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Our international operations require us to comply with trade restrictions, such as economic sanctions and export controls.

We are subject to trade restrictions, including economic sanctions and export controls, such as those administered and enforced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United Nations Security Council and other relevant authorities. Our global operations expose us to the risk of violating, or being accused of violating economic and trade sanctions and export control laws and regulations. Despite our compliance efforts and activities, there is no assurance that such efforts and activities are effective and we cannot assure compliance by our employees or representatives for which we may be held responsible. Our failure to comply with these laws and regulations may expose us to reputational harm as well as significant penalties, including criminal fines, imprisonment, civil fines, disgorgement of profits, injunctions and debarment from government contracts, as well as other remedial measures. Investigations of alleged violations can be expensive and disruptive. Any such violation could materially adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

The conversion of Renminbi into foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, is based on rates set by the People’s Bank of China. Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. The value of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by changes in China’s political and economic conditions and actions by mainland China’s foreign exchange policies, among other things. We cannot assure you that Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or mainland China or U.S. government policies may impact the exchange rate between Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.

There remains significant international pressure on the mainland China government to adopt a more flexible currency policy. Any significant appreciation or depreciation of Renminbi may materially and adversely affect our revenues, earnings and financial position, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in U.S. dollars. As a significant portion of our cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments are denominated in U.S. dollars, fluctuations in exchange rates between Renminbi and U.S. dollars may result in foreign exchange gains or losses. Furthermore, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into Renminbi to pay our operating expenses, appreciation of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, a significant depreciation of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar may significantly reduce the U.S. dollar equivalent of our earnings, which in turn could adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

Very limited hedging options are available in mainland China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by mainland China exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency. As a result, fluctuations in exchange rates may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

Changes in PRC government policies relevant to us or our customers could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

The growth of our business benefits from PRC government policies at central and local levels. Such policies include not only those relevant to us, such as the preferential tax policy for “high and new technology enterprises,” but also those that support the development of new energy vehicles, or NEVs, and domestically manufactured vehicles, which apply to many of our domestic automotive customers. Adverse changes in relevant PRC government policies may materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

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Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, the statutory enterprise income tax rate is 25%, but certain “high and new technology enterprises” are qualified for a preferential enterprise income tax rate subject to certain qualification criteria. A “high and new technology enterprise,” which qualification is reassessed every three years, is entitled to a favorable income tax rate of 15%. Our WFOE obtained the high and new technology enterprise accreditation in 2019, which qualification was renewed in 2022 for another three years, and currently enjoys the preferential tax treatment. However, our WFOE may fail to renew its status as a high and new technology enterprise when such qualification expires in 2025. In addition, the relevant government authorities may decide to cancel or modify such preferential treatment for high and new technology enterprises. Therefore, we cannot assure you of the continued availability of such tax preference which we currently enjoy. In the event that our WFOE fails to maintain its qualified status, experiences any increase in the enterprise income tax rate, or faces any discontinuation, retroactive or future reduction or refund of any of the preferential tax treatments currently enjoyed, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Many of our customers in China focus on the development and production of NEVs and have been entitled to certain government incentives or subsidies. For example, producers of extended-range electric vehicles enjoy certain favorable government incentives and subsidies, including exemption from vehicle purchase tax, one-time government subsidies, exemption from license plate restrictions in certain cities, exemption from driving restrictions in certain cities, and preferential utility rates for charging facilities. However, China’s central and local governments have begun to phase out such incentives and subsidies. In April 2020, the PRC Ministry of Finance and other national regulatory authorities issued a circular to extend the original end date of subsidies for NEV purchasers to the end of 2022 and reduce the amount of subsidies in 10% increments each year commencing from 2020. However, only certain NEVs are eligible for such subsidies starting from July 2020. On December 31, 2021, the PRC Ministry of Finance and other national regulatory authorities issued another circular that became effective on January 1, 2022, which further reduced the national subsidies for NEVs by 30% in 2022 compared with that of 2021 and also clarified that such subsidies will be eliminated after December 31, 2022 and that NEV purchasers will not be eligible for the subsidies if the NEVs they purchase are licensed after December 31, 2022. Any reduction, elimination or discriminatory application of government subsidies and economic incentives because of policy changes, the reduced need for such subsidies and incentives due to the perceived success of NEVs, fiscal tightening or other factors may affect government incentives or subsides and result in diminished competitiveness of the NEV industry generally. The business of our Chinese NEV customers may suffer as a result, which in turn may have a material and negative impact on us as a LiDAR supplier.

If we fail to obtain and maintain the requisite licenses, permits, registrations and filings applicable to our business, or fail to obtain additional licenses, permits, registrations or filings that become necessary as a result of new enactment or promulgation of government policies, laws or regulations or the expansion of our business, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Under mainland China laws and regulations, we are required to obtain or complete a number of licenses, approvals, registrations, filings and other permissions for our operation, including without limitation, the Customs Import And Export Goods Consignee or Consignor Record Return Receipt for our import and export business, the Fixed Source Discharge Registration Return Receipt for the pollutant emissions from our production process, and Type Approval Certificate for Radio Transmitting Equipment and Record-filing of Sale of Radio Transmitting Equipment for certain of our products. As of December 31, 2022, we have obtained all the required permission for our current operation. As a fast-growing company that is continuously exploring new approaches to conduct our business and capture growth opportunities, we may become subject to additional license, approval and other requirements as we develop and expand our business scope and engage in different business activities. We may fail to meet such requirements timely or at all, in which case we may be subject to administrative penalties and our ability to expand our business and sustain our growth may be materially affected.

In addition, certain licenses, permits or registrations we hold are subject to periodic renewal. If we fail to maintain or renew one or more of our licenses and certificates when their current term expires, or obtain such renewals on a timely manner, our operations could be disrupted. Furthermore, due to uncertainties of interpretation and implementation of existing laws and the adoption of additional laws and regulations, the licenses, permits, registrations or filings we hold may be deemed insufficient by the PRC government, which may restrain our ability to expand our business scope and may subject us to fines or other regulatory actions. If any of these risks materializes, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

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The expansion of our manufacturing facilities may be subject to delays, disruptions, cost overruns, or may not produce expected benefits.

Although our existing manufacturing capacity is sufficient for our current and near-term demand, we are constructing a new manufacturing facility in Jiading, Shanghai to prepare for further production ramp-up of our existing and future LiDAR products. The new facility is expected to commence manufacturing in 2023. In addition, in September 2022, we entered into a project investment agreement under which we will cooperate with the management committee of Xiaoshan Economic and Technological Development Zone of Zhejiang Province in connection with the construction of another manufacturing facility. Our expansion plans could experience delays or other difficulties, and will require significant capital. Any failure to complete the expansion on schedule and within budget could adversely affect our financial condition, production capacity, and results of operations. Moreover, we could encounter similar or additional risks if we were to establish new manufacturing facilities in addition to the Jiading and Hangzhou ones.

Under mainland China laws, construction projects are subject to broad and strict government supervision and approval procedures, including but not limited to project approvals and filings, construction land and project planning approvals, construction permits, occupational disease control approvals, environment protection approvals, the pollution discharge permits, drainage license, work safety approvals, fire protection approvals, and the completion of inspection and acceptance by relevant authorities. We have received the regulatory approvals needed at the current stage for the expansion project of our manufacturing facility in Jiading, and we intend to apply for any regulatory approvals that may be required for the Hangzhou facility. To the extent additional approvals or permits are needed for our construction work and we fail to secure such approvals or permits, our expansion plan may be disrupted or discontinued. In addition, any potential violation of laws and regulations related to construction may subject us to fines, suspension of construction, and other administrative penalties. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our business operations.

If we fail to comply with environmental protection, fire protection, drainage or health and safety laws and regulations, we could become subject to fines or penalties or incur costs that could have a material adverse effect on the success of our business.

We are subject to numerous environmental protection, fire protection, drainage or health and safety laws and regulations, including but not limited to those governing the emission of hazardous gas, the use of radioisotopes and radiation-emitting devices, the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials, drainage and wastes discharge of stationary pollution sources. We have been compliant with such laws and regulations in all material aspects. However, the cost of compliance with such laws and regulations is substantial. In addition, as we continue to expand our manufacturing facilities and capabilities, we cannot assure you that there will not be violations or suspected violations in our facilities that result in us becoming subject to governmental investigations or penalties, which may include cessation of operation, fines, and confiscation of illegal gains. Furthermore, although we believe we take adequate precautions in compliance with relevant regulations with respect to the hazardous gas generated from the welding activities in our manufacturing facilities, we cannot eliminate the risk of such hazardous gas having a negative impact on the health of our employees at the facilities. Any potential failure to comply with environmental, fire protection, drainage or health and safety laws and regulations and/or failure to adequately protect the health of our employees could have a material adverse impact on our business operations and financial performance.

Our leased property interests and title to certain land and buildings we own may be defective and our right to lease and use the properties may be challenged, or we may fail to extend or renew our current leases or locate desirable alternatives for our facilities on commercially acceptable terms, which could materially and adversely affect our business.

We presently lease several premises in China. Some of the lessors of these leases have not provided us with sufficient documents to prove their ownership of the premises or their rights to lease the premises to us for our intended use. Therefore, we cannot assure you that such lessors are entitled to lease the relevant real properties to us. If the lessors are not entitled to lease the real properties to us and the owners of such real properties decline to ratify the lease agreements between us and the respective lessors, we may not be able to enforce our rights to lease such properties under the respective lease agreements against the owners. If our lease agreements are claimed as null and void by third parties who are the real owners of such leased real properties, we could be required to vacate the properties and have limited recourse. Furthermore, under mainland China laws, all lease agreements are required to be registered with the local housing authorities. Currently our lease agreements have not been registered with the relevant authorities. Failure to complete these required registrations may expose us to potential monetary fines.

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When our current leases expire, we may fail to extend or renew our leases for reasons such as unavailability of the relevant premises for a new lease term or substantially higher rent demanded by the owners. We cannot assure you that suitable alternative locations will be readily available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, and if we are unable to relocate our operations in a timely manner, our operations may be adversely affected.

In addition, our use of the land and buildings we lease or own may not be consistent with their approved usage, and some approvals, licenses and permits may not have been obtained for the construction and continuous use of such buildings. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully remedy the defects or obtain all the requisite approvals, licenses or permits. Failure to do so could disrupt our operations and result in significant relocation expenses, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We and our suppliers may rely on complex machinery for our production, which involves a significant degree of risk and uncertainty in terms of operational performance and costs.

We, our manufacturing partners and our suppliers may rely on complex machinery for the production, assembly and installation of our LiDAR products, which will involve a significant degree of uncertainty and risk in terms of operational performance and costs. Our production facilities and the facilities of our manufacturing partners and suppliers consist of large-scale machinery combining many components. These components may suffer unexpected malfunctions from time to time and will depend on repairs and spare parts to resume operations, which may not be available when needed. Unexpected malfunctions of these components may significantly affect the intended operational efficiency. Operational performance and costs can be difficult to predict and are often influenced by factors outside of our control, such as, but not limited to, scarcity of natural resources, environmental hazards and remediation, costs associated with decommissioning of machines, labor disputes and strikes, difficulty or delays in obtaining governmental permits, damages or defects in electronic systems, industrial accidents, fire, seismic activity and natural disasters. Should operational risks materialize, they may result in the personal injury or death of workers, the loss of production equipment, damage to production facilities, monetary losses, delays and unanticipated fluctuations in production, environmental damage, administrative fines, increased insurance costs and potential legal liabilities, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or operating results.

Our sales and operations in international markets outside of China expose us to operational, financial and regulatory risks.

International sales beyond China comprise a substantial amount of our overall revenue. Sales to international customers accounted for 55.4%, 51.0% and 42.0% of our revenue in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. We are committed to growing our international sales. While we have committed resources, and are working closely with OEMs and other collaborators outside China, to expand our international operations and sales channels, these efforts may not be successful. International operations are subject to a number of other risks, including:

exchange rate fluctuations;
political and economic instability, international terrorism and anti-China sentiment;
global or regional health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other health epidemics and outbreaks;
potential for violations of anti-corruption laws and regulations, such as those related to bribery and fraud;
preference for locally branded products, and laws and business practices favoring local competition;
increased difficulty in managing inventory;
delayed revenue recognition;
less effective protection of intellectual property;
stringent regulation of the autonomous or other systems or products using our products and stringent consumer protection and product compliance regulations;
difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations;

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import and export laws and the impact of tariffs; and
changes in local tax and customs duty laws or changes in the enforcement, application or interpretation of such laws.

The occurrence of any of these risks could negatively affect our international business and consequently our business, operating results and financial condition.

We may be subject to product liability or warranty claims that could result in significant direct or indirect costs, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.

Our customers use our products in ADAS and Autonomous Mobility applications, which present the risk of significant injury, including fatalities. We may be subject to claims if a product using our LiDAR technology is involved in an accident and persons are injured or purport to be injured. Similarly, our customers could be subjected to claims as a result of such accidents and bring legal claims against us to attempt to hold us liable. In addition, if lawmakers or governmental agencies were to determine that the use of our products or certain ADAS applications or Autonomous Mobility increased the risk of injury to all or a subset of our customers, they may pass laws or adopt regulations that limit the use of our products or increase our liability associated with the use of our products or that regulate the use of or delay the deployment of ADAS and Autonomous Mobility technology. Any of these events could adversely affect our brand, relationships with customers, operating results or financial condition.

We offer a standard limited-time warranty on our products. The occurrence of any material defects in our products could make us liable for damages and warranty claims. In addition, we could incur significant costs to correct any defects, warranty claims or other problems, including costs related to product recalls. Any negative publicity related to the perceived quality of our products could affect our brand image, partner and customer demand, and adversely affect our operating results and financial condition. Also, warranty, recall and product liability claims may result in litigation, including class actions, the occurrence of which could be costly, lengthy and distracting and adversely affect our business and operating results.

If we do not maintain sufficient inventory or if we do not adequately manage our inventory, we could lose sales or incur higher inventory-related expenses, which could negatively affect our operating results.

To ensure adequate inventory supply, we must forecast inventory needs and expenses, place orders sufficiently in advance with our suppliers and manufacturing partners and manufacture products based on our estimates of future demand for particular products. Fluctuations in the adoption of LiDAR products may affect our ability to forecast our future operating results, including revenue, gross margins, cash flows and profitability. Our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products could be affected by many factors, including the rapidly changing nature of the ADAS and Autonomous Mobility markets in which we operate, the uncertainty surrounding the market acceptance and commercialization of LiDAR technology, the emergence of new markets, an increase or decrease in customer demand for our products or for products and services of our competitors, product introductions by competitors, the COVID-19 pandemic, other health epidemics and outbreaks, and any associated work stoppages or interruptions, unanticipated changes in general market conditions and the weakening of economic conditions or consumer confidence in future economic conditions. As our LiDAR products become or continue to be commercialized in ADAS and Autonomous Mobility applications, both of which are experiencing rapid growth in demand, we may face challenges in acquiring adequate supplies to manufacture our products and we and our manufacturing partners may not be able to manufacture our products at a rate necessary to satisfy the levels of demand, which would negatively affect our revenue. This risk may be exacerbated by the fact that we may not carry or be able to obtain for our manufacturers a significant amount of inventory to satisfy short-term demand increases. If we fail to accurately forecast customer demand, we may experience excess inventory levels or a shortage of products available for sale.

Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, which would adversely affect our financial results, including our gross margin, and have a negative effect on our brand. Conversely, if we underestimate customer demand for our products, we, or our manufacturing partners, may not be able to deliver products to meet our requirements, and this could result in damage to our brand and customer relationships and adversely affect our revenue and operating results.

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Our business plans require a significant amount of capital. In addition, our future capital needs may require us to issue additional equity or debt securities that may dilute our shareholders or introduce covenants that may restrict our operations or our ability to pay dividends.

We will need significant capital to, among other things, conduct R&D, expand our production capacity, and increase our sales and marketing efforts. As we ramp up our production capacity and operations, we may also require significant capital to maintain our property, plant, and equipment and such costs may be greater than what we currently anticipate. We expect that our level of capital expenditures will be significantly affected by customer demand for our products and services. The fact that we have a limited operating history means we have limited historical data on the demand for our products and services. As a result, our future capital requirements may be uncertain and actual capital requirements may be different from what we currently anticipate. We may seek equity or debt financing to finance a portion of our capital expenditures. Such financing might not be available to us in a timely manner or on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. If we cannot obtain sufficient capital on acceptable terms, our business, financial condition, and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to obtain the necessary financing to carry out our business plan is subject to a number of factors, including general market conditions and investor acceptance of our business plan. These factors may make the timing, amount, terms and conditions of such financing unattractive or unavailable to us. If we are unable to raise sufficient funds, we will have to significantly reduce our spending, delay or cancel our planned activities, or substantially change our corporate structure. We might not be able to obtain any funding or service any of the debts we incurred, and we might not have sufficient resources to conduct our business as projected, either of which could mean that we would be forced to curtail or discontinue our operations.

In addition, our future capital needs could require us to issue additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The issuance of additional equity or equity-linked securities could dilute our shareholders. On November 18, 2022, we entered into an agreement with a commercial bank in China for a credit facility of RMB700 million (US$98.4 million), which will be available in full until November 18, 2024, for the purchasing of property and equipment related to the new manufacturing facilities. The credit facility is secured by the land-use rights of the new manufacturing facility, including any ongoing and completed constructions thereon. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in an increase in debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations or our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders and/or disruptions to our operations as a result of certain lenders’ enforcement of mortgages or other security interests on our properties.

Our future growth depends on the successful commercialization of ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics technologies and products, which may not materialize.

Our LiDAR products serve primarily the ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics fields, all of which are new and evolving. While we have seen and continue to see rapid and substantial progress made in these fields, how they will continue to evolve, particularly whether and how ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics technologies and products can be successfully commercialized, remains largely uncertain. Various factors such as technological development, manufacturing costs, market acceptance, regulatory environment, and general economic conditions can affect the future of these new and evolving fields. In the event that any of ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics fails to develop and mature as expected, and we fail to find additional commercial applications for our LiDAR products, the potential markets for our products could be significantly reduced and our business and prospects may suffer as a result.

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Adverse conditions in the automotive industry or the global economy more generally could have adverse effects on our results of operations.

While we make our strategic planning decisions based on the assumption that the markets we are targeting will grow, our business is dependent, in large part on, and directly affected by, business cycles and other factors affecting the global automobile industry and global economy generally. Automotive production and sales are highly cyclical and depend on general economic conditions and other factors, including consumer spending and preferences, changes in interest rates and credit availability, consumer confidence, fuel costs, fuel availability, environmental impact, governmental incentives and regulatory requirements, and political volatility, especially in energy-producing countries and growth markets. Furthermore, the conflict in Ukraine and the imposition of broad economic sanctions on Russia could raise energy prices and disrupt global markets, which could affect the automotive industry. In addition, automotive production and sales can be affected by our automotive OEM customers’ ability to continue operating in response to challenging economic conditions, labor relations issues, regulatory requirements, trade agreements and other factors. The volume of automotive production in China, the U.S. and the rest of the world has fluctuated, sometimes significantly, from year to year, and we expect such fluctuations to give rise to fluctuations in the demand for our products. Any significant adverse change in any of these factors may result in a reduction in automotive sales and production by our automotive OEM customers and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The discontinuation, lack of commercial success, or loss of business with respect to a particular vehicle model or technology package for which we are a significant supplier could reduce our sales and adversely affect our profitability.

If we succeed in having our LiDAR products selected, we expect to enter into supply agreements with the relevant customers. Market practice dictates that these supply agreements typically require us to supply for a particular model of ADAS or Autonomous Mobility product. These contracts can be short-term and/or subject to renegotiation, sometimes as frequently as annually, all of which may affect product pricing, and may be terminated by our customers at any time. Therefore, even if we are successful in having our LiDAR products selected and the systems into which our products are built are commercialized, the discontinuation of, the loss of business with respect to, or a lack of commercial success of a particular vehicle model or technology package for which we are a significant supplier could mean that the expected sales of our products will not materialize, materially and adversely affecting our business.

Since many of the markets in which we compete are new and rapidly evolving, it is difficult to forecast long-term end-customer adoption rates and demand for our products.

We are pursuing opportunities in markets that are undergoing rapid changes, including technological and regulatory changes, and it is difficult to predict the timing and size of the opportunities. For example, LiDAR-incorporated ADAS and Autonomous Mobility applications require complex technology. Because these automotive systems depend on technology from many companies, commercialization of ADAS or Autonomous Mobility products could be delayed or impaired due to certain technological components not being ready to be deployed in vehicles or other applications. The commercial partners with whom we currently have contracts may not be able to commercialize our technology immediately, or at all. Regulatory, safety or reliability developments, many of which are outside of our control, could also cause delays or otherwise impair commercial adoption of these new technologies, which will adversely affect our growth. Our future financial performance will depend on our ability to make timely investments in the correct market opportunities. If one or more of these markets experience a shift in customer or prospective customer demand, our products may not compete as effectively, if at all, and they may not be designed into commercialized products. For instance, if a new regulation or industry standard permits only LiDAR with certain wavelengths to be used on public roads, and our products fall outside that scope, the adoption of and customer demand for our products will be significantly affected. Given the evolving nature of the markets in which we operate, it is difficult to predict customer demand or adoption rates for our products or the future growth of the markets in which we operate. If demand does not develop or if we cannot accurately forecast customer demand, the size of our markets, or inventory requirements, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.

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Our results of operations may vary significantly from period to period due to the seasonality of our business and fluctuations in our operating costs.

Our results of operations may vary significantly from period to period due to many factors, including seasonal factors that may affect the demand for our LiDAR products. The sales volume of our LiDAR products is typically higher in the second half of the year than that of the first half. Our limited operating history makes it difficult for us to judge the exact nature or extent of the seasonality of our business. Our results of operations could also suffer if we do not achieve revenue consistent with our expectations for this seasonal demand because many of our expenses are based on anticipated levels of annual revenue.

We also expect our period-to-period results of operations to vary based on our operating costs, which we anticipate will increase significantly in future periods as we, among other things, invest more resources to design, develop, and manufacture our LiDAR products, build new manufacturing facilities, increase our sales and marketing activities, and increase our general and administrative functions to support our growing operations.

As a result of these factors, we believe that period-to-period comparisons of our results of operations are not necessarily meaningful and that these comparisons cannot be relied upon as indicators of future performance. Moreover, our results of operations may not meet expectations of equity research analysts or investors. If this occurs, the trading price of our ADSs could fall substantially either suddenly or over time.

We generate a substantial portion of our revenue from a limited number of customers and products, and the loss of, or a significant reduction in, revenue from such customers or products could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

Although we have and continue to pursue a broad customer base, we are dependent on a collection of large customers with strong purchasing power. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, one customer, a leading global OEM headquartered in the United States, accounted for 10.4%, 17.5% and 13.7% of our revenue, respectively. We directly receive purchase orders from this customer. The purchase orders generally provide volumes and prices of the LiDAR products, packaging and delivery arrangements, payment arrangements, inspection requirements and warranty period. In addition, the purchase orders provide that the purchase agreements may be terminated by the customer if we materially breach the agreement or become insolvent, or other events occur that may adversely affect our ability to perform our contractual obligations. If our purchase agreements are otherwise terminated by the customer, we will still be paid an amount calculated based on (i) the price for all goods and services that have been completed in accordance with the purchase agreement and not previously paid for; and (ii) the actual costs of work-in-process and raw materials incurred by us in furnishing the goods or services under the purchase agreement, subject to certain conditions and exceptions. In addition, a leading autonomous driving company with fleets and operations in both the United States and China accounted for 12.7% and 6.5% of our revenue in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and a leading new energy vehicle manufacturer headquartered in China accounted for 24.3% of our revenue in 2022.

A few customers accounted for more than 10% of our balances of accounts receivable, contract assets and amount due from related parties as of December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. The loss of business from any of our major customers (whether by lower overall demand for our products, cancellation of existing contracts or product orders or the failure to award us new business) could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. There is also a risk that one or more of our major customers could be unable to pay our invoices as they become due or that a customer will simply refuse to make such payments if it experiences financial difficulties. If a major customer were to enter into bankruptcy proceedings or similar proceedings whereby contractual commitments are subject to stay of execution and the possibility of legal or other modification, we could be forced to record a substantial loss.

Furthermore, we have been dependent on a limited number of products to generate a substantial portion of our revenue. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, we had five, six and six major products, respectively, that generated a substantial portion of our revenues. For example, AT128, a popular LiDAR product launched in July 2021 and started shipping in July 2022, accounted for 26.3% of our revenue in 2022, and Pandar128 accounted for 30.0% and 24.9% of our revenue in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The markets for LiDAR products and customers’ needs and preferences are rapidly evolving. We, as well as many of our competitors, are constantly upgrading LiDAR products and rolling out new products with higher performance and better quality. To the extent any of our major products loses its appeal to customers and in turn its market share, whether due to competition from our competitors’ products or our own alternative products or overall lower demand for LiDAR products, among other things, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

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If we are unable to establish and maintain confidence in our long-term business prospects among customers and other third parties within our industry or are subject to negative publicity, then our financial condition, operating results, business prospects and access to capital may suffer materially.

Customers may be less likely to purchase our LiDAR products if they are not convinced that our business will succeed or that our service and support and other operations will continue in the long term.

Similarly, suppliers and other third parties will be less likely to invest time and resources in developing business relationships with us if they are not convinced that our business will succeed. Accordingly, in order to build and maintain our business, we must maintain confidence among customers, suppliers, analysts, ratings agencies and other parties in our products, long-term financial viability and business prospects. Maintaining such confidence may in particular be complicated by certain factors including those that are largely outside of our control, such as our limited operating history, customer unfamiliarity with our LiDAR products, any delays in scaled production, delivery and service operations to meet demand, competition and uncertainty regarding the future of autonomous vehicles or other potential markets and our production and sales performance compared with market expectations.

Developments in alternative technology may adversely affect the demand for our LiDAR technology.

Significant developments in alternative technologies, such as cameras and radar, may materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results in ways we do not currently anticipate. Existing and other camera and radar technologies may emerge as customers’ preferred alternatives to our products. Any failure by us to develop new or enhanced technologies or processes, or to react to changes in existing technologies, could materially delay our development and introduction of new and enhanced products in the autonomous vehicle industry, which could result in the loss of competitiveness of our LiDAR products, decreased revenue and a loss of market share to competitors. Our R&D efforts may not be sufficient to adapt to changes in technology. As technologies change, we plan to upgrade or adapt our LiDAR products with the latest technology. However, our products may not compete effectively with alternative systems if we are not able to source and integrate the latest technology into our existing LiDAR products.

We may need to defend ourselves against intellectual property right infringement claims, which may be time-consuming and would cause us to incur substantial costs.

Entities or individuals, including our competitors, may hold or obtain patents, copyrights, trademarks, or other proprietary rights that would prevent, limit, or interfere with our ability to make, use, develop, sell or market our LiDAR products or components, which could make it more difficult for us to operate our business. From time to time, we may receive communications from intellectual property right holders regarding their proprietary rights. Companies holding patents or other intellectual property rights may bring suits alleging infringement of such rights or otherwise assert their rights and urge us to take licenses, whether such allegations are true or not. For example, in 2019, Velodyne Lidar, Inc. filed a lawsuit against us with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. International Trade Commission for alleged infringement of its patents for mechanical rotational LiDAR registered in the United States. Separately, in April 2023, Ouster Inc. filed complaints against us with the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and the U.S. International Trade Commission for alleged patent infringement relating to the production, use, sale and/or importation of certain LiDAR systems and/or components thereof. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Legal Proceedings.” Our applications and uses of trademarks relating to our design, software, or artificial intelligence technology could also be found to infringe upon existing trademark ownership and rights. In addition, if we are determined to have infringed upon a third party’s intellectual property rights, we may be required to do one or more of the following:

cease selling, incorporating certain components into, or using products or offering services that incorporate or use the challenged intellectual property;
pay substantial damages;
seek a license from the holder of the infringed intellectual property right, which may not be available on reasonable terms or at all;
redesign our products or services; or establish and maintain alternative branding for our products and services.

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In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us and our failure or inability to obtain a license to the infringed technology or other intellectual property right, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, any litigation or claims, whether or not valid, could result in substantial costs, negative publicity, and diversion of resources and management attention.

We may not be able to prevent others from unauthorized use of our intellectual property, which could harm our business and competitive position.

We regard our trademarks, patents, domain names, trade secrets, proprietary technologies, and similar intellectual property as critical to our success. We rely on trademark and patent law, trade secret protection and confidentiality and license agreements with our employees and others to protect our proprietary rights.

We have invested significant resources to develop our own intellectual property. Failure to maintain or protect these rights could harm our business. In addition, any unauthorized use of our intellectual property by third parties may adversely affect our current and future revenues and our reputation.

Implementation and enforcement of mainland China laws relating to intellectual property have historically been deficient and ineffective. Accordingly, protection of intellectual property rights in mainland China may not be as effective as in the United States or other developed countries. Furthermore, policing unauthorized use of proprietary technology is difficult and expensive. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret laws and restrictions on disclosure to protect our intellectual property rights. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, third parties may attempt to copy or otherwise obtain and use our intellectual property or seek court declarations that they do not infringe upon our intellectual property rights. Monitoring unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly, and we cannot assure you that the steps we have taken or will take will prevent misappropriation of our intellectual property. From time to time, we may have to resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources.

As our patents may expire and may not be extended, our patent applications may not be granted, and our patent rights may be contested, circumvented, invalidated, or limited in scope, our patent rights may not protect us effectively. In particular, we may not be able to prevent others from developing or exploiting competing technologies, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

As of December 31, 2022, we had 321 patents granted and 483 pending patent applications in mainland China, and 29 patents granted and 230 pending patent applications in other jurisdictions, such as the United States and Europe. We cannot assure you that all our pending patent applications will result in issued patents. Even if our patent applications succeed and we are issued patents accordingly, it is still uncertain whether these patents will be contested, circumvented, or invalidated in the future. In addition, the rights granted under any issued patents may not provide us with meaningful protection or competitive advantages. The claims under any patents may not be broad enough to prevent others from developing technologies that are similar or that achieve results similar to ours. It is also possible that the intellectual property rights of others could bar us from licensing and exploiting our patents. Numerous patents and pending patent applications owned by others exist in the fields where we have developed and are developing our technology. These patents and patent applications might have priority over our patent applications and could subject our patent applications to invalidation. Finally, in addition to those who may claim priority, any of our existing patents or pending patent applications may also be challenged by others on the basis that they are otherwise invalid or unenforceable.

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We and certain of our directors and officers have been named as defendants in a putative shareholder class action lawsuit, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation.

We will have to defend against the putative shareholder class action lawsuits described in “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Combined and Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings,” including any appeals of such lawsuits should our initial defense be unsuccessful. We are currently unable to estimate the timing, possible outcome or loss or possible range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of these lawsuits. There can be no assurance that we will be able to prevail in our defense or reverse any unfavorable judgment on appeal, and we may decide to settle such lawsuits on unfavorable terms. Any adverse outcome of these cases, including any plaintiff’s appeal of a judgment in these lawsuits, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation. The litigation process may utilize a significant portion of our resources and divert management’s attention from the day-to-day operations of our company, which could harm our results of operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit. In addition, there can be no assurance that our insurance carriers will cover all or part of the defense costs, or any liabilities that may arise from these matters. We also may be subject to claims for indemnification related to these matters, and we cannot predict the impact that indemnification claims may have on our business or financial results.

We are subject to risks associated with strategic alliances or acquisitions.

We have entered into and may in the future enter into strategic alliances, including joint ventures or minority equity investments, with various third parties to further our business purpose from time to time. These alliances could subject us to a number of risks, including risks associated with sharing proprietary information, non-performance by third parties, and increases in expenses in establishing new strategic alliances, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business. We may have limited ability to monitor or control the actions of these third parties and, to the extent any of these third parties suffers negative publicity or harm to their reputation from events relating to their businesses, we may also suffer negative publicity or harm to our reputation by virtue of our association with any such third party.

In addition, if appropriate opportunities arise, we may acquire additional assets, products, technologies, or businesses that are complementary to our existing business. In addition to possible shareholder approval, we may have to obtain approvals and licenses from relevant government authorities for the acquisitions and to comply with any applicable laws and regulations of mainland China or other jurisdictions, which could result in increasing delay and costs, and may derail our business strategy if we fail to do so. Moreover, the costs of identifying and consummating acquisitions may be significant. Furthermore, past and future acquisitions and the subsequent integration of new assets and businesses into our own require significant attention from our management and could result in a diversion of resources from our existing business, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our operations. Acquired assets or businesses may not generate the financial results we expect. Acquisitions could result in the use of substantial amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the occurrence of significant goodwill impairment charges, amortization expenses for other intangible assets, and exposure to potential unknown liabilities of the acquired business. Any acquired business may be involved in legal proceedings originating from historical periods prior to the acquisition, and we may not be fully indemnified, or at all, for any damage to us resulting from such legal proceedings, which could materially and adversely affect our financial position and results of operations.

We have granted and will continue to grant options and other types of awards under our share incentive plan, which may result in increased share-based compensation expenses.

We adopted a share incentive plan, or the 2021 Plan, in June 2021 for the purpose of granting share-based compensation awards to employees, directors, and consultants to incentivize their performance and align their interests with ours. Under the 2021 Plan, we are authorized to grant options and other types of awards. The maximum number of ordinary shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards under the 2021 Plan is initially 16,365,047 shares, subject to annual increases as determined by our board of directors starting from the first day of 2024, the year immediately following our initial public offering. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees — B. Compensation of Directors and Executive Officers — Share Incentive Plan.” As of February 28, 2023, awards to purchase or receive an aggregate amount of 9,612,262 Class B ordinary shares had been granted and were outstanding under the 2021 Plan.

We believe the granting of share-based awards is of significant importance to our ability to attract and retain key personnel and employees, and we plan to grant share-based compensation to employees in the future. As a result, our expenses associated with share-based compensation may increase, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

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Furthermore, prospective candidates and existing employees often consider the value of the equity awards they receive in connection with their employment. Thus, our ability to attract or retain highly skilled employees may be adversely affected by declines in the perceived value of our equity or equity awards. Furthermore, there are no assurances that the number of shares reserved for issuance under our share incentive plans will be sufficient to grant equity awards adequate to recruit new employees and to compensate existing employees.

Our business depends substantially on the efforts of our founders, executive officers and highly skilled personnel, and our operations may be severely disrupted if we lost their services.

We are highly dependent on Dr. Yifan Li, our co-founder and chief executive officer, Dr. Kai Sun, our co-founder and chief scientist, and Mr. Shaoqing Xiang, our co-founder and chief technology officer. Each of the three co-founders leads different aspects of our business. The loss of any of our co-founders would adversely affect our business because such loss could make it more difficult to, among other things, compete with other market participants, manage our R&D activities and retain existing customers or cultivate new ones. Our other executive officers also play key roles in our business operations, and we rely on their efforts to manage and grow our business.

Our business depends on a variety of other highly skilled personnel as well. Competition for highly skilled personnel is often intense, and we may incur significant costs to attract highly skilled personnel. We may not be successful in attracting, integrating, or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. We have, from time to time, experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. In addition, job candidates and existing employees often consider the value of the equity awards they receive in connection with their employment. If the perceived value of our equity or equity awards declines, it may adversely affect our ability to retain highly skilled employees. If we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our existing personnel, our business and future growth prospects could be adversely affected.

Our management team has limited experience managing a public company.

Most of the members of our management team have limited experience managing a publicly traded company, interacting with public company investors, and complying with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies. Our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage their new roles and responsibilities. As a public company, we are subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under the U.S. federal securities laws and the continuous scrutiny of securities analysts and investors. These new obligations and constituents require significant attention from our senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.

We have identified one material weakness in our internal controls. If we are unable to develop and maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure control and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. In the course of preparing and auditing our combined and consolidated financial statements, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified one material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. As defined in the standards established by the PCAOB, a “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

The material weakness identified relates to lack of sufficient skilled staff with U.S. GAAP knowledge for the purpose of financial reporting to comply with U.S. GAAP and SEC requirements. The material weakness, if not remediated timely, may lead to material misstatements in our consolidated financial statements in the future. Following the identification of the material weakness, we have taken and plan to continue to take remedial measures. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures—Internal Control over Financial Reporting.” We cannot assure you, however, that these measures may fully address this material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting or that we may not identify additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the future.

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We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or Section 404, will require us to include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023. In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal control or the level at which our control is documented, designed, operated, or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. In addition, our reporting obligations may place a significant strain on our management, operational, and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future. We may be unable to complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation in a timely manner.

During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, if we fail to maintain adequate and effective internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented, or amended from time to time, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increasing risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations, and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

We may be subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, financial and economic sanctions, and similar laws, and noncompliance with such laws can subject us to administrative, civil, and criminal penalties, collateral consequences, remedial measures, and legal expenses, all of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and reputation.

We may be subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, financial and economic sanctions, and similar laws and regulations in various jurisdictions in which we conduct activities, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or the FCPA, and other anti-corruption laws and regulations. The FCPA prohibits us and our officers, directors, employees, and business partners acting on our behalf, including agents, from corruptly offering, promising, authorizing, or providing anything of value to a “foreign official” for the purposes of influencing official decisions or obtaining or retaining business or otherwise obtaining favorable treatment. The FCPA also requires companies to make and keep books, records, and accounts that accurately reflect transactions and dispositions of assets and to maintain a system of adequate internal accounting controls. A violation of these laws or regulations could adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition, and results of operations.

We have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies and state-owned affiliated entities in the ordinary course of business. We also have business collaborations with government agencies and state-owned affiliated entities. These interactions subject us to an increasing level of compliance-related concerns. We have adopted and implemented certain policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance by us and our directors, officers, employees, and business partners with applicable anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, financial and economic sanctions, and similar laws and regulations. However, our policies and procedures may not be sufficient and our directors, officers, employees, and business partners could engage in improper conduct for which we may be held responsible.

Non-compliance with anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, or financial and economic sanctions laws could subject us to whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, and severe administrative, civil and criminal sanctions, collateral consequences, remedial measures, and legal expenses, all of which could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition, and results of operations.

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We may be subject to legal proceedings in the ordinary course of our business. If the outcomes of these proceedings are adverse to us, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

We may be subject to legal proceedings from time to time in the ordinary course of our business, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. Claims arising out of actual or alleged violations of law could be asserted against us by our customers, our competitors, governmental entities in civil or criminal investigations and proceedings, or other entities. These claims could be asserted under a variety of laws, including but not limited to product liability laws, intellectual property laws, labor and employment laws, securities laws, tort laws, contract laws, property laws, and employee benefit laws. There is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending ourselves in legal and administrative actions or in asserting our rights under various laws. Even if we are successful in our attempt to defend ourselves in legal and administrative actions or to assert our rights under various laws, enforcing our rights against the various parties involved may be expensive, time-consuming, and ultimately futile. These actions could expose us to negative publicity and to substantial monetary damages and legal defense costs, injunctive relief, and criminal, civil, and administrative fines and penalties.

We have limited insurance coverage, which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.

We have limited liability insurance coverage for our products and business operations. A successful liability claim against us, regardless of whether due to injuries suffered by our customers could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, and reputation. In addition, we do not have any business disruption insurance. Any business disruption event could result in substantial cost to us and diversion of our resources.

Our business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, fire, floods and other natural catastrophic events, global pandemics, and interruptions by man-made problems, such as terrorism. Material disruptions of our business or information systems resulting from these events could adversely affect our operating results.

A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or significant power outage or other similar events, such as infectious disease outbreaks or pandemic events, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could have an adverse effect on our business and operating results. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this section, such as the demand for our products, our ability to achieve or maintain profitability and our ability to raise additional capital in the future. See “— Our business has been and may continue to be adversely affected by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic or other health epidemics and outbreaks.” In addition, natural disasters, acts of terrorism or war could cause disruptions in our manufacturing operations, our delivery of products and other aspects of our business, our customers’ or channel partners’ businesses, our suppliers’ businesses, or the economy as a whole. We also rely on information technology systems to communicate among our workforce and with third parties. Any disruption to our communications, whether caused by a natural disaster or by man-made problems, such as power disruptions, could adversely affect our business. We do not have a formal disaster recovery plan or policy in place and do not currently require that our suppliers’ partners have such plans or policies in place. To the extent that any such disruptions result in delays or cancellations of orders or impede our suppliers’ ability to timely deliver product components, or the deployment of our products, our business, operating results and financial condition would be adversely affected.

Interruption or failure of our information technology and communications systems could impact our availability and effectiveness of our software systems.

Our LiDAR hardware works with our software systems to fully function. The availability and effectiveness of such systems depend on the continued operation of information technology and communications systems. Our systems will be vulnerable to damage or interruption from, among others, physical theft, fire, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, power loss, war, telecommunications failures, viruses, denial or degradation of service attacks, ransomware, social engineering schemes, insider theft or misuse or other attempts to harm our systems. We utilize reputable third-party service providers or vendors for our data, and these providers could also be vulnerable to harms similar to those that could damage our systems, including sabotage and intentional acts of vandalism causing potential disruptions. Our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. Any problems with our third-party cloud hosting providers could result in lengthy interruptions in our business. In addition, our software systems are highly technical and complex technology which may contain errors or vulnerabilities that could result in interruptions in our business or the failure of our systems.

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We are subject to cybersecurity risks with respect to operational systems, security systems, infrastructure, integrated software in our LiDAR products and customer data processed by us or third-party vendors or suppliers and any material failure, weakness, interruption, cyber event, incident or breach of security could prevent us from effectively operating our business.

We are at risk for interruptions, outages and breaches of operational systems, including business, financial, accounting, product development, data processing or production processes, owned by us or our third-party vendors or suppliers; facility security systems, owned by us or our third-party vendors or suppliers; in-product technology owned by us or our third-party vendors or suppliers; the integrated software in our LiDAR products; or customer data that we process or our third-party vendors or suppliers process on our behalf. Such cyber incidents could materially disrupt operational systems; result in loss of intellectual property, trade secrets or other proprietary or competitively sensitive information; compromise certain information of customers, employees, suppliers, or others; jeopardize the security of our facilities; or affect the performance of in-product technology and the integrated software in our LiDAR products. A cyber incident could be caused by disasters, insiders (through inadvertence or with malicious intent) or malicious third parties (including nation-states or nation-state supported actors) using sophisticated, targeted methods to circumvent firewalls, encryption and other security defenses, including hacking, fraud, trickery or other forms of deception. The techniques used by cyber attackers change frequently and may be difficult to detect for long periods of time. Although we maintain information technology measures designed to protect us against intellectual property theft, data breaches and other cyber incidents, such measures will require updates and improvements, and we cannot guarantee that such measures will be adequate to detect, prevent or mitigate cyber incidents. The implementation, maintenance, segregation and improvement of these systems requires significant management time, support and cost. Moreover, there are inherent risks associated with developing, improving, expanding and updating current systems, including the disruption of our data management, procurement, production execution, finance, supply chain and sales and service processes. These risks may affect our ability to manage our data and inventory, procure parts or supplies or produce, sell, deliver and service our products, adequately protect our intellectual property or achieve and maintain compliance with, or realize available benefits under, applicable laws, regulations and contracts. We cannot be sure that the systems upon which we rely, including those of our third-party vendors or suppliers, will be effectively implemented, maintained or expanded as planned. If we do not successfully implement, maintain or expand these systems as planned, our operations may be disrupted, our ability to accurately and timely report our financial results could be impaired, and deficiencies may arise in our internal control over financial reporting, which may impact our ability to certify our financial results. Moreover, our proprietary information or intellectual property could be compromised or misappropriated and our reputation may be adversely affected. If these systems do not operate as we expect them to, we may be required to expend significant resources to make corrections or find alternative sources for performing these functions.

A significant cyber incident could impact production capability, harm our reputation, cause us to breach our contracts with other parties or subject us to regulatory actions or litigation, any of which could materially affect our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

The PRC government has significant oversight and discretion over our business operation, and it may influence or intervene in our operations at any time as part of its efforts to enforce mainland China law, which could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs.

We conduct our business primarily in China. Our operations in China are governed by mainland China laws and regulations. The PRC government has significant oversight and discretion over the conduct of our business, and may intervene or influence our operations at any time. The PRC government has published policies that significantly affected certain industries and we cannot rule out the possibility that it will in the future release regulations or policies that directly or indirectly affect our industry or require us to seek additional permission to continue our operations, which could result in a material adverse change in our operation and/or the value of our ADSs. Therefore, investors of our company and our business face potential uncertainty from actions taken by the PRC government affecting our business. The Chinese government has exerted more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and foreign investment in China-based issuers. Such actions could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of our ADSs to significantly decline or be worthless. For more details, see “— The approval and/or other requirements of the CSRC or other mainland China governmental authorities may be required in connection with our issuance of securities overseas under mainland China rules, regulations or policies, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such other requirements.”

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Uncertainties exist with respect to how the PRC Foreign Investment Law may impact the viability of our current corporate structure and operations.

Laws regulating foreign investment in China include the PRC Foreign Investment Law, or the PRC FIL, effective from January 1, 2020, and the Regulation on Implementing the PRC Foreign Investment Law, or the Implementation Regulations, effective from January 1, 2020. The PRC FIL specifies that foreign investments shall be conducted in line with the “negative list” to be issued or approved to be issued by the State Council. The “negative list” proscribes special administrative measures for foreign investment in specific fields or industries, and foreign investments in businesses not included in the negative list will be granted national treatment. While our current businesses are not included in the currently effective negative list and are not otherwise restricted to foreign investment by mainland China laws and regulations, it is uncertain whether our industry will be named in an updated “negative list” to be issued in the future. If our industry is added to the “negative list” or if the mainland China regulatory authorities otherwise decide to limit foreign ownership in our industry, there could be a risk that we would be unable to do business in China as we are currently structured. If any new laws and/or regulations on foreign investments in China are promulgated and implemented, such changes could have a significant impact on our current corporate structure, which in turn could have a material adverse impact on our business and operations, our ability to raise capital and the market price of our ADSs. In such event, despite our efforts to restructure to comply with the then applicable mainland China laws and regulations in order to continue our operations in China, we may experience material changes in our business and results of operations, our attempts may prove to be futile due to factors beyond our control, and the value of the ADSs you invest in may significantly decline or become worthless.

Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

We expect that most of our operations will continue to be conducted in China. Accordingly, our results of operations, financial condition and prospects are influenced by economic, political and legal developments in China. China’s economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including with respect to the amount of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the PRC government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. The PRC government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through strategically allocating resources, controlling the payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, that growth has been uneven across different regions and between economic sectors and may not continue, as evidenced by the slowing of the growth of the Chinese economy since 2012. Any adverse changes in economic conditions in China, in the policies of the Chinese government or in the laws and regulations in China could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China. Such developments could adversely affect our business and operating results, leading to reduction in demand for our products and services and adversely affect our competitive position.

The Chinese government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. In addition, in the past the Chinese government has implemented certain measures, including interest rate adjustment, to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity in China, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

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Uncertainties with respect to the mainland China legal system could materially and adversely affect us.

The mainland China legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions under the civil law system may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. The overall effect of legislation over the past four decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in mainland China. However, mainland China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in mainland China. Since these laws and regulations are relatively new and may be amended from time to time, and the mainland China legal system continues to rapidly evolve, and because of the limited number of published decisions and the nonbinding nature of such decisions, and because the laws and regulations often give the relevant regulator significant discretion in how to enforce them, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules may not be uniform and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involves uncertainties. These uncertainties may affect our judgment on the relevance of legal requirements and our ability to enforce our contractual rights or tort claims. Besides, mainland China is geographically large and divided into various provinces and municipalities and, as such, different laws, rules, regulations and policies may have different and varying applications and interpretations in different parts of mainland China. Legislation or regulations, particularly in local applications, may be enacted without sufficient prior notice or announcement to the public. In addition, the regulatory uncertainties may be exploited through unmerited or frivolous legal actions or threats in attempts to extract payments or benefits from us. Furthermore, the mainland China legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis, or at all, and may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of any of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Agreements that are governed by mainland China laws may be more difficult to enforce by legal or arbitral proceedings in mainland China than that in other countries with different legal systems. In addition, any administrative and court proceedings in mainland China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

The approval and/or other requirements of the CSRC or other mainland China governmental authorities may be required in connection with our issuance of securities overseas under mainland China rules, regulations or policies, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such other requirements.

The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, purport to require offshore special purpose vehicles that are controlled by mainland China companies or individuals and that have been formed for the purpose of seeking a public listing on an overseas stock exchange through acquisitions of mainland China domestic companies or assets to obtain CSRC approval prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock exchange. The interpretation and application of the regulations remain unclear. If CSRC approval is required, it is uncertain how long it will take for us to obtain such approval, and, even if we obtain such CSRC approval, the approval could be rescinded. Any failure to obtain or a delay in obtaining CSRC approval for our future issuance of securities overseas may subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC and other mainland China regulatory agencies, which could include fines and penalties on our operations in mainland China, restrictions or limitations on our ability to pay dividends outside of mainland China, and other forms of sanctions that may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Furthermore, on July 6, 2021, the PRC government promulgated the July 6 Opinions, which, among other things, called for enhanced administration and supervision of overseas-listed mainland China-based companies, proposed to strengthen the supervision of the overseas issuance and listing of shares by mainland China-based companies and clarified the responsibilities of competent domestic industry regulators and government authorities. On December 28, 2021, the CAC, together with other relevant administrative departments, jointly released the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which took effect on February 15, 2022. Pursuant to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, network platform operators with personal information of over one million users shall apply with the Cybersecurity Review Office for a cybersecurity review before going to list abroad. See “— Any failure to comply with the various applicable laws and regulations related to data security and cybersecurity could affect our offshore listing and lead to liabilities, penalties or other regulatory actions, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.” In connection with our initial public offering completed in February 2023, we received confirmation in writing from the China Cybersecurity Review Technology and Certification Center, the institution designated by the CAC to receive application materials for cybersecurity review and conduct examinations of such applications, that we were not required to apply for a cybersecurity review in connection with that offering and the listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market if we did not possess over one million users’ personal information prior to the completion of the offering and the listing. As a result, based on the fact that we were not in possession of more than one million users’ personal information, we were not subject to cybersecurity review by the CAC for our initial public offering.

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The new rules for the filing-based administration of overseas securities offerings and listings by Chinese domestic companies released on February 17, 2023, or New Filing Rules, establish a new filing-based regime to regulate overseas offerings and listings by domestic companies. According to the New Filing Rules, (i) an overseas offering and listing by a domestic company, whether directly or indirectly, shall be filed with the CSRC; and (ii) the issuer or its affiliated domestic company, as the case may be, shall file with the CSRC for its initial public offering, follow-on offering, issuance of convertible bonds, offshore relisting after go-private transactions and other equivalent offing activities. In addition, after a domestic company has offered and listed securities in an overseas markets, it is required to file a report to the CSRC after the occurrence and public disclosure of certain material corporate events, including but not limited to, change of control and voluntary or mandatory delisting. According to the New Filing Rules, the Company shall be deemed to be a domestic enterprise indirectly listed overseas. However, from March 31, 2023, enterprises that have been listed overseas shall constitute existing enterprises and are not required to conduct the overseas listing filing procedure immediately, but shall carry out filing procedures as required if they conduct future offshore offerings or capital raising activities or are involved in other circumstances that require filing with the CSRC.

On February 24, 2023, the CSRC, together with other relevant government authorities, issued the Provisions on Strengthening Confidentiality and Archives Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, or the Archives Rules, which became effective on March 31, 2023. According to the Archives Rules, domestic mainland China companies, whether offering and listing securities overseas directly or indirectly, must strictly abide the applicable laws and regulations when providing or publicly disclosing, either directly or through their overseas listed entities, documents and materials to securities companies, securities services providers such as accounting firms, or overseas regulators in the process of their overseas offering and listing. If such documents or materials contain any state secrets or government authorities work secrets, domestic companies must obtain the approval from competent governmental authorities according to the applicable laws, and file with the secrecy administrative department at the same level with the approving governmental authority. Furthermore, the Archives Rules also provides that securities companies and securities service providers shall also fulfill the applicable legal procedures when providing overseas regulatory institutions and other relevant institutions and individuals with documents or materials containing any state secrets or government authorities work secrets or other documents or materials that, if divulged, will jeopardize national security or public interest. For more details of the New Filing Rules, please refer to “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—Regulations Relating to Overseas Listing and M&A.”

Any failure to comply with the various applicable laws and regulations related to data security and cybersecurity could affect our offshore listing and lead to liabilities, penalties or other regulatory actions, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

On November 14, 2021, the CAC issued the Draft Cyber Data Security Regulations, which provide that data processors conducting the following activities shall apply for cybersecurity review: (i) merger, reorganization or spin-off of Internet platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests affects or may affect national security; (ii) listing abroad of data processors processing over one million users’ personal information; (iii) listing in Hong Kong which affects or may affect national security; (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. As of the date of this annual report, no detailed rules or implementation has been issued by any Protection Departments. On December 28, 2021, the CAC, together with other relevant administrative departments, jointly promulgated the Cybersecurity Review Measures which took effect on February 15, 2022. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, an internet platform operator who possesses personal information of more than one million users shall apply for a cybersecurity review before listing in a foreign country, and the relevant governmental authorities may initiate a cybersecurity review if they consider relevant network products or services affect or data processing activities may affect national security.

The mainland China regulatory and enforcement regime with regard to data security and data protection is evolving and may be subject to different interpretations or significant changes. Moreover, different PRC regulatory bodies, including the SCNPC, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT, the CAC, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Market Regulation, or the SAMR, have enforced data privacy and protections laws and regulations with varying standards and applications. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Regulations on Internet Information Security and Privacy Protection.”

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Our business generally does not involve the collection or processing of personal information or data that may affect national security. As of the date of this annual report, we are not in possession of more than one million users’ personal information. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been designated by the relevant mainland China authorities as a CIIO, have not been involved in any cybersecurity-related investigation initiated by the CAC or any other mainland China authority, and have not received any cybersecurity-related warning or sanction from the mainland China government, or any notice from relevant authorities specifying us to file for the cybersecurity review. As the definitions for terms such as internet platform operator and national security are broad, and the government will likely retain significant discretion as to the interpretation and enforcement of the Cybersecurity Review Measures and any implementation rules, we may be subject to related rules. We cannot preclude the possibility that the Cybersecurity Review Measures will subject us to the cybersecurity review by the CAC in relation to our operations or require us to adjust our business practices, in which case our business, financial condition and prospects and the price of our ADSs may be materially and negatively affected.

In the event that we are subject to the cybersecurity review by the CAC in relation to our operations, we may experience disruptions of our business. Such review could also result in negative publicity with respect to our company and diversion of our managerial and financial resources. Furthermore, if we were found to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations of mainland China during such review, we may be subject to administrative penalties, including fines and service suspension, which could have a material and adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition and the value of our ADSs. We also cannot rule out the possibility that certain of our customers may be deemed CIIOs, in which case our products or services, if deemed related to national security, will be submitted for cybersecurity review before we can enter into agreements with such customers. If the reviewing authority considers that the use of our products and services by certain of our customers who are CIIOs involves risks of disruption, is vulnerable to external attacks, or may negatively affect, compromise, or weaken the protection of national security, we may not be able to provide our products or services to such customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and business prospects.

In addition to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, the mainland China government has introduced a wide range of laws and regulations on cybersecurity and data security in recent years. For example, the PRC Cyber Security Law came into effect on June 1, 2017 and requires network constructors, network operators, and service providers that provide services via network to perform certain functions related to cyber security protection and the strengthening of network information management through taking technical and other necessary measures to safeguard the operation of networks, responding to network security effectively, preventing illegal and criminal activities, and maintaining the integrity and confidentiality and usability of network data. In addition, the law imposes certain additional requirements on CIIOs, including that during their operations in mainland China, CIIOs should generally store the personal information and important data collected and produced within the territory of mainland China and perform certain security obligations. On September 12, 2022, the CAC proposed a series of draft amendments to the PRC Cyber Security Law, imposing more stringent legal liabilities for certain violations. Such draft amendments were released for soliciting public comments until September 29, 2022 and their final form, interpretation and implementation remain substantially uncertain. The PRC Data Security Law, on the other hand, was promulgated on June 10, 2021 and took effect in September 2021, and provides for data security and privacy obligations on entities and individuals carrying out data processing activities, including but not limited to the collection, storage, use, processing, transmission, provision, and public disclosure of data. The PRC Data Security Law also requires a national security review procedure for those data activities which may affect national security and imposes export restrictions on certain data and information. On August 16, 2021, the CAC, jointly with other PRC authorities, issued the Provisions on Management of Automotive Data Security (Trial), which took effect on October 1, 2021, or the Automotive Data Provisions. The Automotive Data Provisions regulate, among other things, the processing of auto data that include both personal information and important data involved in the process of automotive design, production, sales, use, operation and maintenance. Since the PRC Data Security Law, the Automotive Data Provisions and other applicable laws and rules are newly issued, there exists great uncertainty with respect to their interpretations and implementations. As of the date of this annual report, we are in compliance with the currently effective and applicable mainland China laws on cybersecurity and data security in all material respects and those laws do not have a material adverse impact on our business or offshore listing plan. However, we cannot preclude the possibility that new laws, regulations or rules promulgated in the future will impose additional compliance requirements on us, will subject us to the cybersecurity or national security review in relation to our operations, or will require us to change our business practices or incur additional operating expenses, which may have material and negative impacts on our business, financial condition and prospects and the value of our ADSs.

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We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our mainland China subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our mainland China subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

We are a Cayman Islands holding company and rely on dividends and other distributions on equity from our mainland China subsidiaries for our cash requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders and service any debt we may incur outside of mainland China. Current mainland China regulations permit our mainland China subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated after-tax profits upon satisfaction of relevant statutory conditions and procedures, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our mainland China subsidiaries is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds until the total amount set aside reaches 50% of its registered capital. These reserves, together with the registered capital, are not distributable as cash dividends. Additionally, if our mainland China subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us.

Any limitation on the ability of our mainland China subsidiaries to distribute dividends or other payments to their respective shareholders could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

Mainland China regulation of loans to and direct investment in mainland China entities by offshore holding companies may delay or prevent us from making loans or additional capital contributions to our mainland China subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Any funds we transfer to our mainland China subsidiaries, either as a shareholder loan or as an increase in registered capital, are subject to approval by or registration with relevant governmental authorities in mainland China. According to the relevant mainland China regulations on foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs, in mainland China, capital contributions to our mainland China subsidiaries are subject to the registration with the State Administration for Market Regulation, or SAMR, or its local counterpart, reporting of foreign investment information with the MOFCOM and registration with a local bank authorized by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or the SAFE.

SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or Circular 19, effective on June 1, 2015 and amended on December 30, 2019. According to Circular 19, the flow and use of the RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company is regulated such that RMB capital may not be used for the issuance of RMB entrusted loans, the repayment of inter-enterprise loans or the repayment of bank loans that have been transferred to a third party. Although Circular 19 allows RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise to be used for equity investments within mainland China, it also reiterates the principle that RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope. SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Foreign Exchange Settlement Management Policy of Capital Account, or Circular 16, effective on June 9, 2016, which reiterates some of the rules set forth in Circular 19, but changes the prohibition against using RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company to issue RMB entrusted loans to a prohibition against using such capital to issue loans to non-associated enterprises. Violations of SAFE Circular 19 and Circular 16 could result in administrative penalties. Circular 19 and Circular 16 may significantly limit our ability to transfer any foreign currency we hold to our mainland China subsidiaries, which may adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business in mainland China. On October 23, 2019, SAFE promulgated the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Promoting the Facilitation of Cross-border Trade and Investment, or SAFE Circular 28, which permits non-investment FIEs to use their capital funds to make equity investments in mainland China, with genuine investment projects and in compliance with effective foreign investment restrictions and other applicable laws.

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In addition, (i) any foreign loan procured by our mainland China subsidiaries is required to be registered with the SAFE or its local branches and (ii) any of our mainland China subsidiaries may not procure loans that exceed the statutory limits, which is either the difference between its registered capital and the total investment amount or a multiple of its net assets in the previous year. We may not be able to obtain these government approvals or complete such registrations in a timely manner, or at all, with respect to future capital contributions or foreign loans by us to our mainland China subsidiaries. If we fail to receive such approvals or complete such registration or filing, our ability to use the proceeds from our securities offerings to capitalize our mainland China operations may be negatively affected, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

China’s M&A Rules and certain other mainland China regulations establish complex procedures for certain acquisitions of mainland China companies, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in mainland China.

A number of mainland China laws and regulations have established procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities in mainland China by foreign investors more time consuming and complex. In addition to the Anti-monopoly Law, which became effective on August 1, 2008, and was lately amended on June 24, 2022 and came into effect on August 1, 2022, these include the M&A Rules adopted by six mainland China regulatory agencies in 2006 and amended in 2009, the Rules of the Ministry of Commerce on Implementation of Security Review System of Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors promulgated in 2011, or the Security Review Rules, and the Measures for the Security Review of Foreign Investment, or the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, promulgated by NDRC and the MOFCOM in December 2020 and came into force on January 18, 2021. For example, the M&A Rules require that the MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a mainland China domestic enterprise when certain criteria are met. The approval from the MOFCOM shall be obtained in circumstances where overseas companies established or controlled by mainland China enterprises or residents acquire affiliated domestic companies. In addition, pursuant to relevant anti-monopoly laws and regulations, the SAMR should be notified in advance of any concentration of undertaking if certain thresholds are triggered. In light of the uncertainties relating to the interpretation, implementation and enforcement of the anti-monopoly laws and regulations of mainland China, we cannot assure you that the anti-monopoly law enforcement agency will not deem our future acquisitions or investments to have triggered filing requirement for anti-monopoly review. Moreover, the Security Review Rules specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOFCOM, and prohibit any attempt to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. Furthermore, under the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, investment in certain key areas which results in acquiring the actual control of the assets is required to obtain approval from designated governmental authorities in advance. As the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures are recently promulgated, there are great uncertainties with respect to its interpretation and implementation. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the relevant regulations to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including clearance from the SAMR and approval from the MOFCOM and other mainland China regulatory authorities, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

The custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, may fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets.

Under mainland China laws, legal documents for corporate transactions are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity and with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with the relevant branch of the SAMR. In order to secure the use of our chops and seals, we have established internal control procedures and rules for using these chops and seals. In any event that the chops and seals are intended to be used, the responsible personnel will submit the application which will then be verified and approved by authorized employees in accordance with our internal control procedures and rules. In addition, in order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secure locations accessible only to authorized employees. Although we monitor such authorized employees, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. There is a risk that our employees could abuse their authority, for example, by entering into a contract not approved by us or seeking to gain control of any of our subsidiaries. If any employee obtains, misuses or misappropriates our chops and seals or other controlling non-tangible assets for whatever reason, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations. We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve and divert management from our operations. In addition, the affected entity may not be able to recover corporate assets that are sold or transferred out of our control in the event of such a misappropriation if a transferee relies on the apparent authority of the representative and acts in good faith.

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Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.

The mainland China government imposes controls on the convertibility of Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of mainland China. We receive our revenues primarily in Renminbi. Under our current corporate structure, our Cayman Islands holding company primarily relies on dividend payments from our mainland China subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing mainland China foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments, trade, and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval of the SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. Specifically, under the existing foreign exchange restrictions, without prior approval of the SAFE, cash generated from the operations of our mainland China subsidiaries in mainland China may be used to pay dividends to our company, subject to the condition that the remittance of such dividends outside of mainland China complies with certain procedures under mainland China foreign exchange regulation, such as the overseas investment registrations by our shareholders or the ultimate shareholders of our corporate shareholders who are mainland China residents. However, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities or designated banks is required where Renminbi is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of mainland China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. As a result, we need to obtain approval from SAFE or its designated banks to use cash generated from the operations of our mainland China subsidiaries to pay off their respective debt in a currency other than Renminbi owed to entities outside mainland China, or to make other capital expenditure payments outside mainland China in a currency other than Renminbi. The mainland China government may also at its discretion restrict access to foreign currencies for current account transactions in the future. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

Mainland China regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by mainland China residents may subject our mainland China resident beneficial owners or our mainland China subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our mainland China subsidiaries, limit our mainland China subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

In July 2014, the SAFE promulgated the Notice on Issues Relating to Foreign Exchange Administration over the Overseas Investment and Financing and Round-trip Investment by Domestic Residents via Special Purpose Vehicles, or the SAFE Circular 37, to replace the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Residents’ Financing and Roundtrip Investment Through Offshore Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 75, which ceased to be effective upon the promulgation of SAFE Circular 37. SAFE Circular 37 requires mainland China residents (including mainland China individuals and mainland China corporate entities) to register with the SAFE or its local branches in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing with such mainland China residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests. The term “control” under SAFE Circular 37 is broadly defined as the operation rights, beneficiary rights or decision-making rights acquired by mainland China residents in the offshore special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, by means of acquisition, trust, proxy, voting rights, repurchase, convertible bonds or other arrangements. SAFE Circular 37 is applicable to our shareholders who are mainland China residents and may be applicable to any offshore acquisitions that we make in the future. In addition, such mainland China residents must update their SAFE registrations when the offshore special purpose vehicle undergoes material events relating to any change of basic information (such as change of such mainland China citizens or residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, or mergers or divisions. According to the Circular on Further Simplifying and Improving Foreign Exchange Administration Policy on Direct Investment, which became effective on June 1, 2015, local banks will examine and handle foreign exchange registration for overseas direct investment, including the initial foreign exchange registration and amendment registration, under SAFE Circular 37 from June 1, 2015. If any mainland China shareholder of such SPVs fails to make the required registration or to update the previously filed registration, the subsidiary of such SPVs in mainland China may be prohibited from distributing their profits or the proceeds from any capital reduction, share transfer or liquidation to the SPVs, and the SPVs may also be prohibited from making additional capital contributions into their subsidiary in mainland China. Moreover, failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under mainland China law for evasion of foreign exchange controls.

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Our co-founders Dr. Yifan Li, Dr. Kai Sun, and Mr. Shaoqing Xiang, who indirectly hold shares in our Cayman Islands holding company and are known to us as mainland China residents, have completed the foreign exchange registrations in respect of their respective holding companies as required by SAFE regulations. However, we may not be informed of the identities of all the mainland China individuals or entities holding direct or indirect interest in our company, nor can we compel our beneficial owners to comply with the SAFE registration requirements. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are mainland China residents have complied with, and will in the future make, obtain or update any applicable registrations or approvals required by SAFE regulations. Failure by such shareholders or beneficial owners to comply with SAFE regulations, or failure by us to amend the foreign exchange registrations of our mainland China subsidiaries, could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our mainland China subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

Any failure to comply with mainland China regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the mainland China plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.

Pursuant to SAFE Circular 37, mainland China residents who participate in share incentive plans in overseas non-publicly-listed companies due to their position as director, senior management or employees of the mainland China subsidiaries of the overseas companies may submit applications to SAFE or its local branches for the foreign exchange registration with respect to offshore special purpose companies before they obtain the incentive shares or exercise the share options. In addition, in February 2012, the SAFE promulgated the Notices on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, replacing earlier rules promulgated in 2007. Pursuant to these rules, mainland China citizens and non-mainland China citizens who reside in mainland China for a continuous period of not less than one year who participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company, subject to a few exceptions, are required to register with the SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be the mainland China subsidiaries of such overseas-listed company, and complete certain other procedures. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Regulations Relating to Stock Incentive Plans.” We and our executive officers and other employees who are mainland China citizens or who reside in mainland China for a continuous period of not less than one year and who have been or will be granted incentive shares or options are subject to these regulations. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject us or them to fines and legal sanctions. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional incentive plans for our directors, executive officers and employees under mainland China law. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Regulation Related to Stock Incentive Plans.”

If we are classified as a mainland China resident enterprise for mainland China enterprise income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-mainland China shareholders and ADS holders.

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the mainland China with its “de facto management body” within the mainland China is considered a “resident enterprise” and will be subject to the enterprise income tax on its global income at the rate of 25%. The implementation rules define the term “de facto management body” as the body that exercises full and substantial control and overall management over the business, productions, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In 2009, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, issued a circular, known as SAT Circular 82, on April 22, 2009, with retroactive effect from January 1, 2008, which was most recently amended on December 29, 2017, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a mainland China-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in mainland China. Although this circular only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by mainland China enterprises or mainland China enterprise groups, not those controlled by mainland China individuals or foreigners, the criteria set forth in the circular may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” text should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. According to SAT Circular 82, an offshore incorporated enterprise controlled by a mainland China enterprise or a mainland China enterprise group will be regarded as a mainland China tax resident by virtue of having its “de facto management body” in mainland China, and will be subject to mainland China enterprise income tax on its global income only if all of the following conditions are met: (i) the primary location of the day-to-day operational management is in mainland China; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise’s financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in mainland China; (iii) the enterprise’s primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions are located or maintained in mainland China; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in mainland China.

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We believe none of our entities outside of mainland China is a mainland China resident enterprise for mainland China tax purposes. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by mainland China tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.” If the mainland China tax authorities determine that we are a mainland China resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, we will be subject to mainland China enterprise income tax on our worldwide income at the rate of 25% and we will be required to withhold a 10% withholding tax from dividends we pay to our shareholders that are non-resident enterprises, including the holders of our ADSs, unless any such foreign investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty or similar agreement with mainland China that provides for a different withholding arrangement. In addition, gains realized on the sale or other disposition of our ADSs or ordinary shares may be subject to mainland China tax, at a rate of 10% in the case of non-mainland China enterprises or 20% in the case of non-mainland China individuals (in each case, subject to the clauses of any applicable tax treaty), if such gains are deemed to be from mainland China. It is unclear whether non-mainland China shareholders of our company would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their jurisdiction of tax residence and mainland China in the event that we are treated as a mainland China resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in the ADSs.

We face uncertainty with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in mainland China resident enterprises by their non-mainland China holding companies, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

On February 3, 2015, the SAT issued the Public Notice Regarding Certain Corporate Income Tax Matters on Indirect Transfer of Properties by Non-Tax Resident Enterprises, or SAT Bulletin 7, as amended in 2017. SAT Bulletin 7 extends its tax jurisdiction to transactions involving the transfer of mainland China taxable assets through offshore transfer of a foreign intermediate holding company. In addition, SAT Bulletin 7 provides certain criteria on how to assess reasonable commercial purposes and has introduced safe harbors for internal group restructurings and the purchase and sale of equity through a public securities market. SAT Bulletin 7 also brings challenges to both foreign transferor and transferee (or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer) of taxable assets. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Bulletin 37, which came into effect on December 1, 2017, and was most recently amended on June 15, 2018. SAT Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of non-resident enterprise income tax.

Where a non-resident enterprise transfers mainland China taxable assets indirectly by disposing of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, which is an Indirect Transfer, the non-resident enterprise as either transferor or transferee, or the mainland China entity that directly owns the taxable assets, may report such Indirect Transfer to the relevant tax authority. Using a “substance over form” principle, the mainland China tax authority may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company if it lacks a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of reducing, avoiding or deferring mainland China tax. As a result, gains derived from such Indirect Transfer may be subject to mainland China enterprise income tax, and the transferee or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer is obligated to withhold the applicable taxes, currently at a rate of 10% for the transfer of equity interests in a mainland China resident enterprise.

We face uncertainties as to the reporting and other implications of certain past and future transactions where mainland China taxable assets are involved, such as offshore restructuring, sale of the shares in our offshore subsidiaries and investments. For transfer of shares in our company by investors who are non-mainland China resident enterprises, our mainland China subsidiaries may be requested to assist in the filing under SAT Bulletin 7 and/or SAT Bulletin 37. As a result, we may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Bulletin 7 and/or SAT Bulletin 37, or to establish that we and our non-mainland China resident investors should not be taxed under these circulars, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing actions in mainland China against us or our management based on foreign laws.

We are a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, we conduct most of our operations in China, and substantially all of our assets are located in mainland China. In addition, most of our senior executive officers reside within mainland China for a significant portion of the time and most of them are mainland China nationals. In addition, mainland China does not have treaties providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments of courts with the Cayman Islands and many other countries and regions. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, mainland China laws may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

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It may be difficult for overseas regulators to conduct investigation or collect evidence within mainland China.

Shareholder claims or regulatory investigations that are common in the United States generally are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in mainland China. For example, in mainland China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to providing information needed for regulatory investigations or litigations initiated outside mainland China. Although the authorities in mainland China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the United States may not be efficient in the absence of mutual and practical cooperation mechanism. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of mainland China. While detailed interpretation of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within mainland China may further increase difficulties faced by you in protecting your interests. See also “Risks Related to Our ADSs — You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law” for risks associated with investing in us as a Cayman Islands company.

Risks Related to Our ADSs

The trading price of the ADSs has been and is likely to continue to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

The trading price of the ADSs has been and is likely to continue to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, including the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in mainland China that have listed their securities in the United States. In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for the ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including but not limited to, the following:

variations in our net revenues, earnings and cash flow;
announcements of new investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, or joint ventures by us or our competitors;
announcements of new products and services and expansions by us or our competitors;
changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;
fluctuations in operating metrics;
failure on our part to realize monetization opportunities as expected;
changes in revenues generated from our significant business partners;
additions or departures of key personnel;
release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities;
detrimental negative publicity about us, our management, our competitors or our industry;
fluctuations of exchange rates between RMB and the U.S. dollar;
regulatory developments affecting us or our industry;
potential litigation or regulatory investigations; and
general economic or political conditions in China or elsewhere in the world.

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the trading volume and price of the ADSs.

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We were named as a defendant in putative lawsuits in the United States, as described in “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Combined and Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings,” and we may be named in similar lawsuits in the future. Such lawsuits could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, the stock market in general, and companies with operations in mainland China in particular, have experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of such companies. The securities of some China-based companies that have listed their securities in the United States have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings in recent years, including, in some cases, substantial declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of these companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies listed in the United States in general, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or other matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have engaged in any inappropriate activities. In particular, the global financial crisis, the ensuing economic recessions and deterioration in the credit market in many countries have contributed and may continue to contribute to extreme volatility in the global stock markets. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our ADSs. Volatility or a lack of positive performance in our ADS price may also adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, most of whom have been granted options or other equity incentives.

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, most significantly, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for so long as we remain an emerging growth company. As a result, if we elect not to comply with such auditor attestation requirements, our investors may not have access to certain information they may deem important.

The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. This election allows us to delay the adoption of new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies until those standards apply to private companies, and as a result of this election our financial statements may not be comparable to those of companies that comply with public company effective dates, including other emerging growth companies that have not made this election.

Our dual-class share structure with different voting rights limits your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class B ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

We have adopted a dual-class voting structure such that our ordinary shares consist of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. In respect of matters requiring the votes of shareholders, holders of Class B ordinary shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class A ordinary shares are entitled to 10 votes per share based on our dual-class share structure. Each Class A ordinary share is convertible into one Class B ordinary share at any time by the holder thereof, while Class B ordinary shares are not convertible into Class A ordinary shares under any circumstances.

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As of February 28, 2023, our founders together beneficially owned all of our issued Class A ordinary shares, which constituted approximately 23.9% of our total issued and outstanding share capital and 75.9% of the aggregate voting power of our total issued and outstanding share capital due to the disparate voting powers associated with our dual-class share structure. As a result of the dual-class share structure and the concentration of ownership, holders of our Class A ordinary shares have considerable influence over matters such as decisions regarding mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. They may take actions that are not in the best interest of us or our other shareholders. This concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the effect of depriving our other shareholders of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and may reduce the price of our ADSs. This concentrated control limits your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class B ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Our dual-class voting structure may render the ADSs representing our Class B ordinary shares ineligible for inclusion in certain stock market indices, and thus adversely affect the trading price and liquidity of the ADSs.

We cannot predict whether our dual-class share structure with different voting rights will result in a lower or more volatile market price of the ADSs, adverse publicity, or other adverse consequences. Certain index providers have announced restrictions on including companies with multi-class share structures in certain of their indices. For example, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell have changed their eligibility criteria for inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the S&P 500, to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares and companies whose public shareholders hold no more than 5% of total voting power from being added to such indices. As a result, our dual-class voting structure may prevent the inclusion of the ADSs representing our Class B ordinary shares in such indices, which could adversely affect the trading price and liquidity of the ADSs representing our Class B ordinary shares. In addition, several shareholder advisory firms have announced their opposition to the use of multiple class structure and our dual-class structure may cause shareholder advisory firms to publish negative commentary about our corporate governance, in which case the market price and liquidity of the ADSs could be adversely affected.

If securities or industry analysts cease to publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for the ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for the ADSs to decline.

We currently do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future and you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

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Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to declare dividends, subject to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Our amended and restated articles of association provide that dividends may be declared and paid out of the funds of the Company lawfully available therefor, which under Cayman Islands law means the profits of our company, realized or unrealized, or from any reserve set aside from profits which the directors determine is no longer needed. Dividends may also be declared and paid out of share premium account or any other fund or account which can be authorized for this purpose in accordance with the Companies Act. Under the Companies Act, no distribution or dividend may be paid out of the share premium account unless, immediately following the date on which the distribution or dividend is proposed to be paid, the company shall be able to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on our future results of operations and cash flows, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs in the future. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

Sales of our ADSs in the public market or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. Such sales also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity or equity-related securities in the future at a time and price that we deem appropriate. We cannot predict what effect, if any market sales of securities held by a principal shareholder or any other shareholder or the availability of these securities for future sale will have on the market price of our ADSs. In addition, if we issue additional ordinary shares, either through private transactions or in the public markets in the United States or other jurisdiction, your ownership interests in our company would be diluted and this, in turn, would have an adverse effect on the price of our ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and the ADSs.

Our currently effective memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, including ordinary shares represented by ADSs. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of the ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

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Our memorandum and articles of association and the deposit agreement provide that the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (or, if the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a particular dispute, the state courts in New York County, New York) is the exclusive judicial forum within the U.S. for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising out of or relating in any way to the federal securities laws of the United States, and any suit, action or proceeding arising out of or relating in any way to the ADSs or the deposit agreement, which could limit the ability of holders of our ordinary shares, the ADSs or other securities to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us, our directors and officers, the depositary, and potentially others.

Our memorandum and articles of association provide that the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (or, if the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a particular dispute, the state courts in New York County, New York) is the exclusive forum within the United States for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising out of or relating in any way to the federal securities laws of the United States, regardless of whether such legal suit, action, or proceeding also involves parties other than our company. The deposit agreement provides that, subject to the depositary’s right to require a claim to be submitted to arbitration, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (or, if the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a particular dispute, the state courts in New York County, New York) shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any suit, action or proceeding and to settle any dispute between us and the depositary that may arise out of or relate in any way to the deposit agreement including without limitation claims under the Securities Act. The enforceability of similar federal court choice of forum provisions in other companies’ organizational documents has been challenged in legal proceedings in the United States, and it is possible that a court could find this type of provision to be inapplicable or unenforceable. If a court were to find the federal choice of forum provision contained in our currently effective memorandum and articles of association or the deposit agreement to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions. If upheld, the forum selection clause in our currently effective memorandum and articles of association, as well as the forum selection provision in the deposit agreement, may limit a security-holder’s ability to bring a claim against us, our directors and officers, the depositary, and potentially others in his or her preferred judicial forum, and this limitation may discourage such lawsuits. Holders of our shares or the ADSs will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the regulations promulgated thereunder pursuant to the exclusive forum provision in the currently effective memorandum and articles of association and deposit agreement. In addition, the forum selection provision of the deposit agreement does not affect the right of the depositary to require any claim arising directly or indirectly from the relationship created by the deposit agreement to be submitted to arbitration or to commence an action in any court in aid of that arbitration provision or to enter judgment upon or enforce any arbitration award.

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to direct the voting of the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs.

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our registered shareholders. As a holder of ADSs, you do not have any direct right to attend general meetings of our shareholders or to cast any votes at such meetings. You will only be able to exercise the voting rights attached to the ordinary shares underlying your ADSs indirectly by giving voting instructions to the depositary in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Where any matter is to be put to a vote at a general meeting, then upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will try, as far as is practicable, to vote the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs as follows:

In the event of voting by show of hands, the depositary bank will vote (or cause the custodian to vote) all ordinary shares held on deposit at that time in accordance with the voting instructions received from a majority of holders of ADSs who provide timely voting instructions.
In the event of voting by poll, the depository bank will vote (or cause the custodian to vote) the ordinary shares held on deposit in accordance with the voting instructions received from the holders of ADSs.

You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying ordinary shares unless you withdraw the shares represented by the ADSs and become the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date for the general meeting.

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When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice of the meeting to enable you to withdraw the ordinary shares represented by your ADSs and become the registered holder of such shares to allow you to attend the general meeting and to vote directly with respect to any specific matter or resolution to be considered and voted upon at the general meeting. In addition, under our currently effective memorandum and articles of association, for the purposes of determining those shareholders who are entitled to attend and vote at any general meeting, our directors may close our register of members and/or fix in advance a record date for such meeting, and such closure of our register of members or the setting of such a record date may prevent you from withdrawing the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs and from becoming the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date, so that you would not be able to attend the general meeting or to vote directly. Where any matter is to be put to a vote at a general meeting, upon our instruction the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs.

In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to direct how the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs are voted and you may have no legal remedy if the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, our ADS holders are not able to call a shareholders’ meeting.

Under the deposit agreement, if voting is by poll and the depositary does not timely receive voting instructions from you, the depositary may give us a discretionary proxy to vote the ordinary shares underlying the ADSs at shareholders’ meetings if we have timely provided the depositary with notice of meeting and related voting materials and (i) we have instructed the depositary that we wish a discretionary proxy to be given, (ii) we have informed the depositary that there is no substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting, and (iii) a matter to be voted on at the meeting would not have a material adverse impact on shareholders.

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that you cannot prevent the underlying ordinary shares represented by the ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for ADS holders to influence the management of the company. Holders of ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

Our ADS holders’ right to pursue claims against the depositary is limited by the terms of the deposit agreement.

Under the deposit agreement, any legal suit, action or proceeding against or involving us or the depositary, arising out of or relating in any way to the deposit agreement or the transactions contemplated thereby or by virtue of owning the ADSs may only be instituted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (or, if the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a particular dispute, in the state courts in New York County, New York), and a holder of our ADSs, will have irrevocably waived any objection which such holder may have to the laying of venue of any such proceeding, and irrevocably submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in any such action or proceeding. Accepting or consenting to this forum selection provision does not represent you are waiving compliance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. Furthermore, investors cannot waive compliance with the U.S. federal securities laws and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

The deposit agreement provides that the depositary may, in its sole discretion, require any dispute or difference arising from the relationship created by the deposit agreement to be referred to and finally settled by an arbitration conducted under the terms described in the deposit agreement, although the arbitration provisions do not preclude you from pursuing any claim under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act in state or federal courts.

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We are entitled to amend the deposit agreement and to change the rights of ADS holders under the terms of such agreement, or to terminate the deposit agreement, without the prior consent of the ADS holders.

We are entitled to amend the deposit agreement and to change the rights of the ADS holders under the terms of such agreement, without the prior consent of the ADS holders. We and the depositary may agree to amend the deposit agreement in any way we decide is necessary or advantageous to us. Amendments may reflect, among other things, operational changes in the ADS program, legal developments affecting ADSs or changes in the terms of our business relationship with the depositary. In the event that the terms of an amendment impose or increase fees or charges (other than taxes and other governmental charges, registration fees, cable (including SWIFT) or facsimile transmission costs, delivery costs or other such expenses) or that would otherwise prejudice any substantial existing right of the ADS holders, such amendment will not become effective as to outstanding ADSs until the expiration of 30 days after notice of that amendment has been disseminated to the ADS holders, but no prior consent of the ADS holders is required under the deposit agreement. Furthermore, we may decide to terminate the ADS facility at any time for any reason. For example, terminations may occur when the ADSs are delisted from the stock exchange in the United States on which the ADSs are listed and we do not list the ADSs on another stock exchange in the United States, nor is there a symbol available for over-the-counter trading of the ADSs in the United States. If the ADS facility will terminate, ADS holders will receive at least 90 days’ prior notice, but no prior consent is required from them. Under the circumstances that we decide to make an amendment to the deposit agreement that is disadvantageous to ADS holders or terminate the deposit agreement, the ADS holders may choose to sell their ADSs or surrender their ADSs and become direct holders of the underlying ordinary shares, but will have no right to any compensation whatsoever.

You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

You may experience dilution of your holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs, or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Act, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against our directors, actions by our minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

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Under Cayman Islands law, the address of a Cayman company’s registered office in the Cayman Islands, and the name of its registered office provider, are matters of public record. A list of the names of the current directors and alternate directors (if applicable) are made available by the Registrar of Companies in the Cayman Islands for inspection by any person on payment of a fee. A Cayman Islands company is required to maintain a register of mortgages and charges, which is open to inspection by the company’s creditors and members. Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records (other than the company’s memorandum and articles of association, and any special resolutions subsequently passed by the shareholders of the company, and the register of mortgage and charges as referred to above). Our directors have discretion under our amended and restated articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by our management, members of our board of directors or our controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and all of our assets are located outside of the United States. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in mainland China. In addition, a majority of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. Substantially all of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of mainland China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

ADS holders may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to claims arising under the deposit agreement, which could result in less favorable outcomes to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

The deposit agreement governing the ADSs representing our ordinary shares provides that, subject to the depositary’s right to require a claim to be submitted to arbitration, the federal or state courts in the City of New York have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine claims arising under the deposit agreement and in that regard, to the fullest extent permitted by law, ADS holders waive the right to a jury trial of any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to our shares, the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under the U.S. federal securities laws.

If we or the depositary opposed a jury trial demand based on the waiver, the court would determine whether the waiver was enforceable based on the facts and circumstances of that case in accordance with the applicable state and federal law. To our knowledge, the enforceability of a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver in connection with claims arising under the federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, we believe that a pre-dispute contractual waiver of jury trial is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement, by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York or a state court in New York County, New York. In determining whether to enforce a pre-dispute contractual waiver of jury trial, courts will generally consider whether a party knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived the right to a jury trial. We believe that this is the case with respect to the deposit agreement and the ADSs. It is advisable that you consult legal counsel regarding the jury waiver provision before entering into the deposit agreement.

If you or any other holders or beneficial owners of ADSs bring a claim against us or the depositary in connection with matters arising under the deposit agreement or the ADSs, including claims under federal securities laws, you or such other holder or beneficial owner may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to such claims, which may have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us and the depositary. If a lawsuit is brought against either or both of us and the depositary under the deposit agreement, it may be heard only by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have, including results that could be less favorable to the plaintiffs in any such action.

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Nevertheless, if this jury trial waiver provision is not enforced, to the extent a court action proceeds, it would proceed under the terms of the deposit agreement with a jury trial. No condition, stipulation or provision of the deposit agreement or ADSs shall relieve us or the depositary from our respective obligations to comply with the Securities Act and the Exchange Act.

As a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq Stock Market listing standards.

As a Cayman Islands company listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, we are subject to the Nasdaq Stock Market listing standards, which requires listed companies to have, among other things, a majority of their board members to be independent and independent director oversight of executive compensation and nomination of directors. However, Nasdaq Stock Market rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the Nasdaq Stock Market listing standards.

We are permitted to elect to rely on home country practice to be exempted from the corporate governance requirements. We have relied on home country practice exemption with respect to the requirement of having an audit committee composed of a minimum of three members. We also expect to rely on home country practice exemption with respect to the requirement that a majority of the nominating and corporate governance committee members must be independent directors within 90 days of listing. We may choose to follow additional home country practice in the future. As a result, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they would otherwise enjoy if we complied fully with the Nasdaq Stock Market listing standards.

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to U.S. domestic public companies.

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:

the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;
the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;
the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time;
the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD; and certain audit committee independence requirements in Rule 10A-3 of the Exchange Act; and
certain audit committee independence requirements in Rule 10A-3 of the Exchange Act.

We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Nasdaq Stock Market. Press releases relating to financial results and material events are also furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC is less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information which would be made available to you were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

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There can be no assurance that we will not be classified as a passive foreign investment company for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. Holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will generally be classified as a “passive foreign investment company,” or “PFIC,” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, for any taxable year, if either (i) 75% or more of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (ii) 50% or more of the value of its assets (generally determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. Passive income generally includes dividends, interest, royalties, rents, annuities, net gains from the sale or exchange of property producing such income and net foreign currency gains. For this purpose, cash and assets readily convertible into cash are categorized as passive assets and the company’s goodwill and other unbooked intangibles are generally taken into account when determining the value of its assets.

Based upon our current and projected income and assets and the market price of our ADSs, we do not believe that we were a PFIC for the taxable year ended December 31, 2022 and we do not presently expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year or the foreseeable future. However, no assurance can be given in this regard because the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC is a factual determination made annually that will depend, in part, upon the composition of our income and assets and the value of our assets. Fluctuations in the market price of the ADSs may cause us to be or become a PFIC for the current or future taxable years because the value of our assets for purposes of the asset test, including the value of our goodwill and unbooked intangibles, may be determined by reference to the market price of the ADSs from time to time (which may be volatile). If our market capitalization subsequently declines, we may be or become a PFIC for the current taxable year or future taxable years. Furthermore, the composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets. Under circumstances where our revenue from activities that produce passive income significantly increases relative to our revenue from activities that produce non-passive income, or where we determine not to deploy significant amounts of cash for active purposes, our risk of becoming a PFIC may substantially increase.

If we are classified as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, the PFIC tax rules discussed under “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — United States Federal Income Tax Considerations — Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules” will generally apply to such U.S. Holder for such taxable year and, unless the U.S. Holder makes a “mark-to-market” election, will apply in future years even if we cease to be a PFIC.

We incur increased costs as a result of being a public company.

We are a public company and expect to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and Nasdaq Stock Market, impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly.

As a public company, we have appointed independent directors and have adopted policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. We also expect that operating as a public company will make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance with acceptable policy limits and coverage, should we decide to obtain such insurance. In addition, we incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. It may also be more difficult for us to find qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers.

In addition, after we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” we expect to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC.

ITEM 4.INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.History and Development of the Company

We commenced our operations in October 2014 through Hesai Photonics Technology Co., Ltd., now known as Hesai Technology Co., Ltd., or Shanghai Hesai, a limited liability company incorporated under the laws of mainland China. Our initial focus was on high-performance laser sensors used in natural gas and other industries, but we shifted our primary business to the development, manufacturing and sales of LiDAR products in 2016. Since then, we have developed and produced a full range of LiDAR solutions and products for various applications in ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics.

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Through Shanghai Hesai, we established HESAI INC., a California corporation, and Shanghai Hesai Trade Co., Ltd., a mainland China limited liability company, in October 2017 and May 2019, respectively. HESAI INC. and Shanghai Hesai Trade Co., Ltd. serve as our primary sales platforms in the U.S. and China, respectively.

To facilitate our offshore financing, we established Hesai Group, our offshore holding company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, in April 2021. Shortly following its incorporation, Hesai Group established a wholly owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, Hesai Hong Kong Limited, which now holds 100% interest in Shanghai Hesai.

In May and June 2021, as part of our reorganization, the shareholders of Shanghai Hesai transferred their equity interests in Shanghai Hesai to Hesai Hong Kong Limited, and they or their affiliates subscribed for ordinary shares of Hesai Group in proportion to their respective interests in Shanghai Hesai prior to the reorganization, where entities owned by the three founders subscribed for Class A ordinary shares and other shareholders of Shanghai Hesai subscribed for Class B ordinary shares. Around the same time, we completed a new round of financing, issuing Class B ordinary shares of Hesai Group to a number of new investors. Including this new round of financing, we have raised a total of approximately US$567 million.

In February 2023, we completed our initial public offering and listed our ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HSAI.” We raised approximately US$174.5 million in net proceeds from the issuance of new shares from the initial public offering and partial exercise of over-allotment option after deducting underwriting commissions and the other offering expenses payable by us.

Our principal executive offices are located at 9th Floor, Building L2-B, 1588 Zhuguang Road, Qingpu District, Shanghai 201702, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 (21) 3158-8240. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Cogency Global Inc., located at 122 East 42nd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10168.

SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC on www.sec.gov. You can also find information on our website http://investor.hesaitech.com. The information contained on our website is not a part of this annual report.

B.

Business Overview

Hesai Technology Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries in China, the U.S. and elsewhere, or Hesai Technology, is the global leader in three-dimensional light detection and ranging (LiDAR) solutions. Its LiDAR products enable a broad spectrum of applications across (i) passenger or commercial vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, (ii) autonomous vehicle fleets providing passenger and freight mobility services, or Autonomous Mobility, and (iii) other applications such as last-mile delivery robots, street sweeping robots, and logistics robots in restricted areas, or Robotics.

We believe there are three attributes critical to the development of LiDARs: Performance1, Quality, and Cost. Depending on the scenario or the application, Hesai Technology’s customers have varying needs. Its ADAS customers generally have strict requirements on all three aspects, especially on Cost. LiDAR for Autonomous Mobility requires higher performance and quality, as they are critical to the successful development and safe operation of full autonomous driving solutions, with cost tending to be a secondary consideration. For Robotics, its customers have demonstrated varying levels of cost sensitivity depending on the application, which range from last-mile delivery robots to street sweeping robots. Hesai Technology designs and manufactures LiDARs to push limits across each of the three elements, while striking what it believes is the optimal balance for different applications and industries, which has led to its continued success in the ADAS and Autonomous Mobility markets.

LiDARs are highly sophisticated instruments, consisting of the following key components.

TX/RX system, or the laser transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX) system, is the key in the entire LiDAR unit and holds the electronic and photonic components that send and receive laser light and process the signals into distance measurements. The TX/RX system is critical to ensuring a LiDAR’s high performance and its design is one of the key areas where we excel compared to other LiDAR providers.
Beam steering system, which steers the laser light for the TX/RX system. See “ — LiDAR Technology and Innovative Approach to TX/RX Design — Beam Steering System.”

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Other supporting infrastructure, including optics, mechanical structures, circuits, and firmware, among others.

Hesai Technology’s semiconductor-based TX/RX system design uses application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, and offers significant advantages over architectures based on discrete components of legacy LiDAR.

1

Performance of LiDAR products refers to the detection range, point density, distance accuracy and precision, among others. For more detailed description of Performance, Quality and Cost, see the “Introduction” section of this annual report.

Its ASIC-based LiDAR approach features a large number of channels driven by ASICs, combined with a simple but robust beam steering system. In this way, it is able to deliver a system that offers greater Performance, higher Quality and consistency at lower Cost. In particular, its proprietary ASICs drive a large number (currently up to 128) of individually addressable laser channels with dynamic exposure functions in the TX/RX system.
Its AT128, a breakthrough LiDAR product for the ADAS market, for example, is based on its proprietary ASICs and is able to deliver superior performance at high precision, lower power consumption per channel, in a smaller form factor and at a lower cost compared to legacy LiDAR. From volume shipment began in July 2022, it shipped approximately 62,000 units of the AT series featuring one-dimensional solid-state electronic scanning for the six months ended December 31, 2022.
ASICs allow Hesai Technology to maximize the performance of LiDARs via fully customized signal processing while concurrently reducing power consumption. The legacy LiDAR involves assembling hundreds of discrete components, which leads to a higher likelihood of quality issues and inconsistency, whereas the ASIC-based LiDARs integrate multiple functions into a few chips, which reduces system complexity and achieves lower cost thanks to a simplified manufacturing process. Hesai Technology has completed its v1.5 ASIC upgrade and will continue to upgrade its ASICs onwards and leverage the existing advanced manufacturing processes in the semiconductor supply chain to deliver better price-to-performance.

Hesai Technology’s proprietary manufacturing process constitutes another of its major advantages and has contributed to its success to date.

It integrates LiDAR design and manufacturing into an indivisible and seamless process. As the LiDAR industry continues to evolve quickly, its in-house integrated manufacturing capabilities, which cover design, manufacturing, calibration and testing, provide instant trial feedback for it to refine its LiDAR design and manufacturing process, thereby enabling rapid product development and fast iteration cycles. Given the complexity of LiDARs as an innovative product encompassing optics, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, and semiconductor, among others, Hesai Technology is capable to design and build up the manufacturing process from scratch, leveraging its accumulated insights on various aspects of LiDARs. Moreover, given the complexity and high level of expertise required to manufacture our products, we believe in-house manufacturing allows Hesai Technology to better control product quality, ensure product consistency, improve manufacturing efficiency, and safeguard manufacturing process know-how at affordable cost. The know-how then further strengthens its in-house manufacturing capability and helps establish a virtuous cycle to solidify its advantages over its competitors.
Hesai Technology has strategically built its current manufacturing facility, which covers approximately 270,000 square feet and is certified under IATF 16949 and ISO 9001, in Jiading, Shanghai, the hub for automotive OEMs in China. This manufacturing facility, together with a transitional production line, supports an annual production capacity of 35,000 units for the non-AT series, plus an expected monthly production capacity of approximately 20,000 units for the AT series, which fulfills the present demand for Hesai Technology’s LiDAR products. Hesai Technology is building a new facility in Jiading, Shanghai, which is expected to commence operation in 2023. In addition, in September 2022, Hesai Technology entered into a project investment agreement under which we will cooperate with the management committee of Xiaoshan Economic and Technological Development Zone of Zhejiang Province in connection with the construction of another manufacturing facility. With the completion of the new facilities, our annual production capacity is expected to eventually increase up to approximately 1.2 million units.
Hesai Technology has received AL3 assessment, the highest level of assessment level by Trusted Information Security Assessment Exchange (“TISAX”) in February 2023, which means Hesai Technology’s information security management has met the highest standards of the European automotive industry, allowing it to provide secure and reliable services to major automotive manufacturers. Additionally, the TISAX assessment is recognized as a “information security access certificate” for

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entry into the German automotive supply chain, giving Hesai Technology a competitive edge for expanding its business and collaborating with leading players in the industry. This assessment can also enhance Hesai Technology’s credibility and reputation, attracting more clients and partners that prioritize security and quality in their operations.

Hesai Technology provides LiDAR solutions to the ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics markets.

ADAS. Hesai Technology’s advantages leading to its success in the ADAS market are manifested in: (i) its ability to design and manufacture LiDAR units in scalable production volume, (ii) its innovative approach to ASIC-based TX/RX design, and (iii) its capability to fulfill the functional safety requirement for automotive-grade standard. Hesai Technology is currently the bellwether of achieving scalable manufacturing and volume shipment in the ADAS market. Its manufacturing capacity dedicated to the ADAS market has reached approximately 20,000 units per month, and it has shipped approximately 62,000 AT128 LiDAR units in aggregate in 2022 to its ADAS customers. Its commercial success in the ADAS market has substantiated its advanced technology and proved the Performance and Quality of its products in the actual on-the-road scenarios.
Autonomous Mobility. The LiDAR solution market for Autonomous Mobility has been Hesai Technology’s first battlefield to commercialize its LiDAR products and build its leadership in the industry.
Robotics. In addition to the ADAS and Autonomous Mobility markets that it strategically focuses on, Hesai Technology also leverages its proprietary TX/RX system with embedded ASICs to develop LiDAR products for the Robotics market.

The following picture illustrates Hesai Technology’s major product pipelines embedded with its ASIC development roadmap.

Graphic

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Solutions and Products

Based on Hesai Technology’s proprietary technology, it has developed and produced a full range of LiDAR products to suit the various needs of its customers. Its LiDAR products cater to short-, medium-, and long-range applications, with industry-leading detection range, resolution, interference rejection technology, and reliability. Certain specifications of Hesai Technology’s flagship models of LiDAR products are presented in the table below:

Graphic

Notes:

(1)

Specifications are subject to changes, and are customizable per customers’ needs.

(2)

Range data is at 10% reflectivity circumstance. Reflectivity refers to the ratio of the energy of the light reflected from a surface to the energy possessed by the light striking the surface.

(3)

Resolution data is at 10 Hz frame rate circumstance.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Today, automobile manufacturers have begun to integrate LiDARs into ADAS to better visualize the changing environments encountered by their vehicles. LiDARs for ADAS share certain requirements with LiDARs for the Autonomous Mobility market, such as detection range and resolution. At the same time, LiDARs for ADAS normally prefer forward-facing configurations for adaptive cruising and traffic assist functions. In addition, automobile manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers require LiDARs with proper form factors to be embedded into their vehicles, in addition to automotive grade reliability and robustness.

Hesai Technology’s AT series and FT series are its breakthrough products for the ADAS market. It has shipped approximately 62,000 AT128 LiDAR units in aggregate in 2022 to its ADAS customers. Carrying the proprietary v2.0 ASICs, its AT128 features 128 channels, great detection range from 0.5 meters to 200 meters, a robust scanning mirror beam steering system providing a horizontal field of view of 120°, a resolution at 1,536,000 points per second, and interference rejection technology. Its AT128 shipments have reached 10,000 units per month in December 2022. FT120 is expected to carry Hesai Technology’s v3.0 ASICs and feature a fully solid-state system without moving parts inside providing a wide vertical field view of 75°, a compact size of 75 (H)×68 (W)×90 (D) millimeters, great detection range from 0.1 meters to 100 meters, and interference rejection technology.

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We are developing ET25, an ultra-thin long-range LiDAR product that is designed for the inner side of windshield. Featuring a height at 25 millimeters, ET25 is expected to carry our new generation of TX/RX system with a power consumption at about 12 watts and low noise design, thereby delivering a comfortable experience to driver and passengers. We expect that our upgraded LiDAR models and new LiDAR product lines may have lower selling price and gross margin due to the pricing demand from the LiDAR industry, which may negatively affect our overall margin profile. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — Continued pricing pressures may result in lower than anticipated margins, or losses, which may adversely affect our business.”

Autonomous Mobility

LiDAR is essential to self-driving cars in the Autonomous Mobility industry, as it is one of the most reliable ways of identifying distances and shapes of objects. In contrast to cameras that require deep learning algorithms to detect objects and determine their distances to vehicles, which may be unreliable, LiDAR can measure distances to objects directly by sending and receiving laser pulses. LiDARs sense and construct a three-dimensional virtual environment in real time with the output as millions of points, or point clouds. Self-driving cars analyze the point clouds to accurately perceive the surroundings and safely navigate around. The ability to identify objects and gauge their distance is a key benefit of using LiDAR, and LiDAR products with a high level of accuracy and reliability can greatly improve safety.

Hesai Technology’s LiDAR product lines for the Autonomous Mobility industry primarily include the Pandar series and the QT series. Its customers generally purchase both LiDAR products for their Autonomous Mobility applications.

Pandar128. Designed for automotive volume production, Pandar128 offers an ideal solution for Autonomous Mobility applications. The 128-channel 360-degree surrounding view LiDAR features unrivaled detection range and point density, which enable superb perception over an extended range and provide Autonomous Mobility systems with longer reaction times that is critical for safe operation at medium-to-high driving speeds. Pandar128 also offers a higher level of ingress protection, helping ensure reliability in all weather conditions. Despite doubling the number of channels in Pandar64, Pandar128 retains a similar compact form factor, enabling seamless integration into a vehicle’s exterior for a more aesthetic configuration.
QT128. The short-range QT128, an upgraded model of QT64, is a cutting-edge answer to blind spot detection. It features a wide vertical field of view at 105.2°, which is ideal for covering vehicle blind spots, superior short-range performance to detect objects as near as 0.1 meters at 10% reflectivity, and an optimized 0.4° finest vertical resolution, as well as Hesai Technology’s interference rejection technology.

Robotics

Hesai Technology’s customers in the Robotics market install LiDARs on small unmanned vehicles for autonomous navigation, collision avoidance, and mapping to provide services such as last-mile delivery and street sweeping. Its LiDAR products empower participants in the Robotics market by providing superior perception solutions at competitive costs.

The XT series is Hesai Technology’s product line for the Robotics market. Launched in October 2020, the 32-channel mid-range XT32 is its first product integrating its proprietary v1.0 LiDAR ASICs. The XT series is a cost-effective and power-efficient solution designed for multiple applications, including automated warehousing, logistics, robotics, surveying, mapping, and low-to-medium-speed autonomous driving. For these scenarios, sensors do not require ultra-high resolution and ultra-long range; rather, they demand a careful balance between Performance, Quality, and Cost. The XT series was developed to address these specific industrial requirements. As of December 31, 2022, Hesai Technology had shipped over 10,100 units of the XT series.

Gas Sensors

In addition to LiDAR products, Hesai Technology offers gas sensors to remotely detect methane leaks. These feature high gas detection sensitivity with configurable detection frequency and support real-time data and visual reports through the corresponding mobile app. It also offers oxygen sensors for high-end medical ventilators using similar technologies.

LiDAR Technology and Innovative Approach to TX/RX Design

Hesai Technology’s core LiDAR technologies include the laser transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX) system that incorporates its ASICs, the beam steering system, system-level know-how, and automotive grade productization.

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TX/RX System and ASICs

The TX/RX system is the foundation for our LiDAR products as they determine the key LiDAR specifications such as detection range, precision, and point cloud density, among others. The TX emits laser light and RX receives reflected light and outputs range information using the time-of-flight measurement (ToF) principle. Our TX/RX system features an architecture similar to the CIS in cameras, consisting of the pixel layer to emit (TX) or receive (RX) laser light and ASICs at the bottom layer to control and drive the lasers (TX) or process the received light (RX). Hesai Technology has designed its proprietary ASICs to integrate the functionality of hundreds of discrete components into a small market at chips, greatly simplifying and optimizing the traditional TX/RX architecture and lowering the cost.

The current TX/RX system integrates laser emitters, receivers, and ASICs. The TX includes dense vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL) arrays as emitters and ASICs that drive these laser emitters. The RX includes silicon photomultiplier (SiPM, a receiver combining signals from multiple single photon avalanche diodes, or SPADs) arrays and ASICs that perform as the switch and processor for all the laser receivers. The picture below shows the TX/RX system with laser emitters, receivers, and ASICs on our 128-channel LiDAR.

Graphic

LiDARs based on ASICs generally have several key advantages: (i) maximized performance since ASICs allow for application customization, reduced power consumption, and optimized signal processing tunning; (ii) enhanced quality as the high level of integration of components and simplified manufacturing process of ASICs can improve consistency; and (iii) optimized cost as ASICs replace hundreds of discrete off-the-shelf components for manufacturing efficiency and leverage the semiconductor supply chain to enhance price-to-performance. Comparing Hesai Technology’s 32-channel XT series product embedded with proprietary ASICs with a comparable 16-channel LiDAR following the legacy approach at similar size, its solution features twice the number of laser channels, 60% longer detection range on a low reflectivity target, double the point density, lower the power consumption per channel, and comes at half the cost.

In addition to the aforementioned inherent advantages of using ASICs in the TX/RX system, Hesai Technology’s approach further differentiates itself in the following ways.

Continuation of a Proven Design.  Its proprietary ASICs reflect its LiDAR design know-how that has been validated in real-world applications through the over 103,000 units of LiDAR it has shipped from 2017 to December 2022.
ASICs Validated Through Volume Shipment.  In the six months ended December 31, 2022, Hesai Technology shipped approximately 62,000 units of the AT series featuring one-dimensional solid-state electronic scanning after volume shipment began in July 2022.
CMOS Image Sensor (CIS)-like Approach.   Hesai Technology has taken the approach of adopting a large number of TX/RX channels through an ASIC architecture, and we expect the cost per channel to decline exponentially over time following the progression of the semiconductor industry. This approach is analogous to the evolution of the CIS in the camera industry, where the number of pixels has grown exponentially over the years and the performance of the integrated sensor has kept advancing while the cost of each pixel has kept declining. Silicon-based semiconductor technology has enabled similar progression in many sectors, especially in consumer electronics, over the past few decades.

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Individually Addressable versus Line Flash.  Hesai Technology’s proprietary ASIC design enables each of the TX/RX channels to individually shoot and receive laser signals with channel-level dynamic exposure functions. This design can effectively avoid channel crosstalk and the dilution of power density per channel compared to line flash design.

Hesai Technology has completed the independent development of its v1.0 and v1.5 ASICs (including multi-channel laser driver ASIC, multi-channel analog front-end ASIC and multi-channel ADC chips), which have been produced in volume. It is currently at v1.0 and v1.5 of its ASIC development roadmap, and is in the process of developing v2.0 and v3.0 ASICs. See also “— Research and Development.” In particular, its QT and AT series, and most of its future products will use VCSEL and SiPM that work with 905nm and 940nm wavelength lasers for its TX/RX system. These laser and receiver components are more mature and cost-effective as a result of already wide adoption for three-dimensional sensing applications in consumer electronics, such as for face detection and in short-range LiDARs in mobile phones. Integrating hundreds of discrete components into its ASICs enables its LiDARs to be compact with low power consumption and manufacturing cost.

In addition, Hesai Technology’s laser and receiver pairs are individually addressable with channel-level dynamic exposure functions. Through not shooting all lasers and opening all receivers at the same time, its LiDARs can avoid significant crosstalk problems across different channels and unnecessary power consumption. Due to eye safety constraints, shooting all lasers together also drastically decreases detection range. As a result, its individually addressable channels enable longer detection range, lower power consumption, and better performance on reflective targets.

Beam Steering System

In general, current beam steering systems in the market include the following:

Field of View

    

Mechanical vs. Solid-State

    

Beam Steering Mechanisms

 

Surrounding View (360 degrees)

Mechanical — TX/RX is physically rotated by a motor

Full rotation of TX/RX

Directional View (less than 180 degrees)

Hybrid Solid-State —  TX/RX is static, but is complemented by one or more moving scanners in the LiDAR

Two-dimensional scanning MEMS mirror
One-dimensional scanning polygon mirror
One-dimensional scanning galvo mirror

Full Solid-State — no moving parts

Optical phased array (OPA)
Electronic scanning (one-dimensional or two-dimensional)

Leveraging its strength in designing TX/RX systems that can integrate hundreds of addressable channels, Hesai Technology’s LiDAR fires lasers from each channel sequentially to form a one-dimensional solid-state electronic scanning in the vertical direction. Units with an electronic scanning mechanism that does not have any moving parts are used for scanning in vertical direction in our LiDARs and can reach a frequency of tens of thousands of hertz, offering superior reliabilities at high scanning frequency. It combines different electronic systems with its different steering systems for different LiDARs to satisfy different applications. For its directional LiDAR (the AT series), it keeps the TX/RX system static and uses a scanning polygon to scan the beam in the horizontal direction. Unlike other approaches using two-dimensional MEMS mirrors (typically up to several millimeters in diameter) or a combination of one-dimensional scanning polygon and one-dimensional galvo mirror where one of the two axes is operated at hundreds of hertz, the rotating speed of its motor or polygon mirror is under 20 hertz, which provides superior reliability under automotive operating conditions. As self-driving cars generally operate in complicated environments with stringent sensing requirements in all horizontal directions, Hesai Technology mainly uses 360-degree surrounding rotation systems in its LiDAR products designed for the Autonomous Mobility market (the Pandar and the QT series).

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System-level Know-how

A LiDAR is a complex system that incorporates many disciplines, such as optics, electronics, mechanical structure, and software, among others. Hesai Technology’s interdisciplinary team of engineers consists of experts in various areas that are critical to LiDAR design and development. Through fundamental level analysis and extensive experiments, its engineers have designed and optimized its LiDAR products toward their physical limit. During years of development of LiDAR products, Hesai Technology has overcome many challenges and has accumulated a broad spectrum of know-how for LiDARs, including laser channel crosstalk reduction, point cloud interference rejection, and LiDAR performance consistency across the full LiDAR operating environment, among others.

Hesai Technology’s rich product mix also supports the development of our next generation LiDARs. It summarizes the know-how that it accumulates from each LiDAR development project, such as AT128, Pandar40P, Pandar64, Pandar128, the QT series, and the XT series, into design rules and applies them to other projects. It has also created common design and simulation platforms across different LiDAR design projects, such as a ranging capability design model with different transmission and receiving system parameters, and common software and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) programs across different LiDAR designs, among others. This accumulation of know-how helps to maximize the efficiency in designing our next generation products.

Automotive Grade Productization

Since 2017, Hesai Technology has been working with global OEMs on LiDAR designs that can meet automotive grade requirements, including, but not limited to, viability under a wide range of working conditions, high reliability, long service life, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), functional safety, and cybersecurity. Its LiDAR products have been running in volume on customers’ vehicle fleets across the globe. As the foundation of its automotive design, it makes sure that its LiDAR components fulfill automotive grade requirements. It designs and tests its proprietary ASICs under automotive standards. For other components that it sources from suppliers, it chooses automotive grade counterparts as long as they are available. During the product and process design phase, it uses tools such as design failure mode and effect analysis (DFMEA) and process failure mode and effect analysis (PFMEA) to ensure its design is robust. Throughout the years of collaboration with global OEMs, Hesai Technology established a comprehensive set of automotive grade design verification tests, whose parameters and standards are approved by its OEM customers as sufficient to ensure the reliability of its LiDARs during automotive usage. These tests include, for example, vibration with thermal cycling, mechanical shock, high temperature degradation, humid heat cyclic, salt spray and ultraviolet resistance tests. It also established a test center with specialized equipment to conduct these tests in-house. The rigorous test standards, along with our testing capabilities, ensure that every LiDAR it designs and manufactures can be verified against the high standards. It has also obtained various certifications that are important for automotive grade design, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and IATF 16949. For functional safety and cybersecurity, it also works closely with its OEM customers to ensure its delivery meets their requirements. Hesai Technology’s automotive LiDARs are designed according to ISO 26262 for functional safety, and according to ISO 21434 for cybersecurity.

905nm/940nm versus 1550nm Wavelengths

Hesai Technology’s LiDAR approach features 905nm and 940nm wavelengths using GaAs-based VCSELs, which are well proven for three-dimensional sensing used in consumer electronics such as smartphones. We believe the laser and receiver components for 1550nm wavelength generally suffer from high power consumption, higher cost of fiber laser, and low sensitivity of InGaAs-based receivers. Accordingly, a LiDAR with 1550nm wavelengths requires many non-automotive-grade components to support a marginally longer detection range at a much higher cost with limited point density as a result of the massive power consumption of 1550nm system. As a result, Hesai Technology strategically adopts mature GaAs-based VCSELs at 905nm/940nm wavelengths. We also see a high possibility that we can further optimize LiDARs at 905nm/940nm wavelengths to exceed the 1550nm wavelength approach in terms of detection range by upgrading the laser receivers and the ASICs processing them.

Software and Algorithms

Our proprietary software is key to providing customers with a complete solution. Our perception software based on edge-computing allows customers to receive processed data in a structured package, identifying vehicles, pedestrians, and others. The perception results from the algorithms become intermediate data for central computing. The algorithms are specifically trained based on Hesai Technology’s LiDAR point cloud pattern features under different applications to fully capture the intricacies of different objects.

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Manufacturing Process and Supply Chain

Hesai Technology’s LiDAR products are assembled in our own manufacturing facilities from a variety of raw materials and components, some of which, including mechanical parts, optical components, and electrical parts, are procured from trusted third-party suppliers. Our in-house manufacturing and testing capabilities and strict quality control measures enable us to ensure the high performance and reliability of our products.

Our Production Plants

We own and operate our manufacturing facilities to produce and assemble our LiDAR products, and our current manufacturing facility is located in Jiading, Shanghai, the hub of OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers in China. The current manufacturing facility commenced production in August 2018 and has an annual production capacity of 35,000 units, which, together with a transitional production line for the AT series with a monthly production capacity of approximately 20,000 units, fulfill the current demand of our LiDAR products. We expect our production capacity to continue to rise in the next few years.

In order to further improve the performance of our LiDAR products, control the cost of mass production, and further automate the production of components, we set up a dedicated ASIC department in 2017. In addition to the design, development and validation of ASICs, our ASIC department also coordinates with suppliers for the mass production process. We have invested significant time in streamlining and automating our production process. Our manufacturing team, supported by our research and development team and supply chain team, systematically optimizes our production process by designing automated assembly and testing processes. For example, our automated placement machine helps ensure the alignment accuracy of the laser beams on our LiDAR by placing laser transmitters and receivers on circuit boards with micrometer accuracy. Every LiDAR assembled on our manufacturing line goes through our automated testing stations, which run our own proprietary software to verify the LiDAR’s ranging capability, distance measurement accuracy and precision, and reflectivity measurement capability, among others. These automated assembly and testing processes ensure not only good quality control, but also great production efficiency and the ability to scale. We built a production line in our transitional manufacturing facility for the AT series and achieved up to 90% automation ratio of the alignment process, which is defined as total automated process time divided by the sum of total automated process time and total manual process time.

We are also dedicated to reducing the environmental impact and ensuring safety throughout the production process. We implement various environmental protection measures, including installation of cotton filters, cartridge dust collectors, and activated carbon adsorption devices to appropriately collect and dispose of manufacturing waste. We work with qualified third-party waste disposal service providers for other waste, including waste glue, waste alcohol, waste filter cotton, waste activated carbon and waste packaging barrels.

Production Facility under Development

We are building a new manufacturing facility in Jiading, Shanghai which is expected to be equipped with automated commercial production lines and we expect that the new manufacturing facility to commence operation in 2023. We are also operating a transitional manufacturing facility in Jiading, Shanghai, which is used for the production of LiDAR products for ADAS customers from 2022 and is expected to be transferred to the new permanent manufacturing facility once ready. We expect our cost-efficiency of production to further enhance when the new manufacturing facility commences operation. In addition, in September 2022, we entered into a project investment agreement with the management committee of Xiaoshan Economic and Technological Development Zone to facilitate our future operation with a term of eight years. The management committee provides us with a transitional manufacturing facility. Pursuant to the agreement, we could receive government subsidies and bonus from the management committee subject to certain operation targets. With the completion of the new facilities, our annual production capacity is expected to eventually increase up to approximately 1.2 million units. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Material Cash Requirements — Capital Expenditures.”

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There are, however, risks or other difficulties associated with the expansion of our manufacturing facility, such as failure to complete the expansion on schedule and within budget. Mass production affords economies of scale only when the manufacturing capacity is highly utilized. However, when manufacturing processes are at their early stage or when we launch new products, the manufacturing facilities are typically underutilized. The period between completion of product development and full capacity utilization is known as production ramp-up. The huge investments found in manufacturing facilities may make this period of particular concern to investors as this period is typically associated with low yields and low production rates. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — The expansion of our manufacturing facilities may be subject to delays, disruptions, cost overruns, or may not produce expected benefits.”

Supply of Raw Materials and Components

We generally have two kinds of procurement needs, one is from our product teams based on their respective production planning, and the other is for our strategic reserves in the future. We have a dedicated team to procure components and raw materials to meet specific requirements of our LiDAR products. The main raw materials used in the production of our LiDAR products include mechanical parts, fasteners, packaging materials and consumables, and the key components used in the production of our LiDAR products include lasers, receivers and chips. The raw materials and key components of our LiDAR products are generally available from multiple suppliers in China and overseas with varying costs. Although most raw materials and key components essential to our products are generally available from multiple sources, a few components, such as automotive grade chips, may at times be subject to industry-wide shortage, significant pricing fluctuations and long supply cycles. For example, following the disruptions to semiconductor manufacturers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an ongoing global chip shortage, which may last for years.

We seek to work with key material and component suppliers directly to foster long-term and in-depth cooperation. We enter into framework agreements with some of our suppliers for our key raw materials and components, such as lasers and receivers, where we may negotiate certain customized needs with such suppliers, and suppliers who have a relatively long production cycle. In general, under the framework agreements, we make separate purchase orders and negotiate the prices and volume of each purchase order. The framework agreements typically have a term of 24 months, which may be extended one year if not terminated in writing by either party.

Logistics and Warehouse

We mainly rely on qualified third-party logistics service providers for the transportation of equipment, supply and our products. We leased our warehouse in Shanghai, China, which is within our leased production plants, to store our LiDAR products after they roll off the product line. Products that have passed quality inspections are delivered to the warehouse, where we implement strict inventory management and control measures, and ultimately ship to locations specified by our customers.

Quality Control

Facing customers with world-class standards, we are committed to providing our customers with high-performance products with consistent quality and reliability. With our long history of pioneering LiDAR products, we have cultivated in-house high-precision manufacturing and testing capabilities to maintain our high-quality control standards, optimize manufacturing cost structure, speed up the iteration of our product development cycle, and increase the robustness of our supply chain.

We impose rigorous quality control standards at various stages of our manufacturing process. Materials and components are systematically tested at different stages of our manufacturing process to ensure that they meet our technical specifications. Our commercialized LiDAR products undergo more than 60 stringent reliability tests following OEM standards, including mechanical shock, high temperature degradation, thermal shock, power temperature cycle, and salt spray, among others. These tests help ensure excellent and stable performance of our LiDAR products in harsh environments. We also set key metrics to control the operation of our production line. Our current manufacturing facility in Jiading is ISO/TS 16949 certified. In terms of suppliers, our supply chain team and research and development team cooperate with each other during the selection process to evaluate the suppliers’ capabilities based on factors such as quality, volume delivery, pricing, timeline, and the ability to adapt, among others. With our strict quality control measures, we are able to produce high-quality LiDAR products in-house.

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Research and Development

Our interdisciplinary team of engineers form the foundation for our continued success. As of December 31, 2022, we had 715 experienced engineers, mostly in our research and development department, amounting to over 70% of our total employees, and over 53% of our engineers had a master’s degree or above.

Our research and development team consists of three departments: Hesai Research Institute, the ASIC center, and the research and development center. Hesai Research Institute undertakes very early-stage research, such as developing proof-of-concept prototypes and exploring the feasibility of new concept LiDARs beyond our current product lines. Hesai Research Institute also develops fundamental components that are crucial for our LiDARs, such as narrow linewidth lasers, integrated optical packaging and scanners. The ASIC center develops customized ASICs for our next generation LiDARs according to our overall product strategies and roadway. Our proprietary ASICs are the main driving force for the continued evolution of our LiDAR architecture. The research and development center is responsible for the design and development of our LiDAR products. It consists of experts in various areas, such as optics, electronics, mechanics, software, and functional safety, among others. The research and development center works with our business development team to understand customers’ needs and design the LiDAR products according to the desired specifications, and works with our manufacturing team to ensure the manufacturability of our LiDARs. After the development of each product, we summarize the experience and know-how we accumulate during the process into our core technologies, which then expedites the development of our next LiDAR product.

Intellectual Property

We believe that we have significant capabilities in LiDAR design and ASICs. We regard our patents, trademarks, copyrights, know-how, proprietary technologies, domain names, and similar intellectual property as critical to our success. As of December 31, 2022, we had 321 patents granted and 483 pending patent applications in China, and 29 patents granted and 230 pending patent applications in other jurisdictions, such as the United States and Europe. Our patents cover our key technologies, including LiDAR technologies and applications, ASIC technologies, and laser-based gas sensor technologies. As of December 31, 2022, we also own 86 registered trademarks in China and overseas countries, including “ Graphic” and “Hesai,” copyrights to nine software programs developed by us relating to various aspects of our operations, and registered domain names, including hesaitech.com.

Business Development

We have a dedicated business development team in each of the business areas in charge of the marketing of our LiDAR products to prospective customers. As an integral part of our marketing strategy, we attend large technology conference and industry expositions to showcase our products, solutions, and our technology. We also focus our marketing efforts on generating word-of-mouth referrals and creating content for marketing on media platforms with the goal of increasing our product exposure and building our reputation. Our marketing content includes high-quality articles and videos developed in-house, which elaborate on our product specifications and technologies. We believe that the combination of our high-quality content and the optimization of our marketing channels, in addition to the strong word-of-mouth referrals of our customers and our digitalized direct sales system, forms a virtuous cycle from content marketing to sales leads, and in turn to word-of-mouth referrals, which enables us to achieve continued brand exposure and attract high-quality potential customers at relatively low marketing spending.

We sell our LiDAR products through direct sales, primarily offline, and indirect distribution channels, such as regional distributors and system integrators. Our website showcases our products for potential customers with insightful product descriptions and reaches our customers globally. We have a dedicated team of salespersons, divided by regions including China, Asia Pacific, the Americas, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, to pursue and maintain relationships with established regional distributors to tap into offline consumer markets. We believe that sales of our products will be enhanced by knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of our revolutionary technologies and demonstrate our products’ high performance. Many salespersons have previously worked at renowned technology companies and have years of sales experience and a foundation of technological knowledge to support their sales activities. We promote our products together with our regional distributors through promotional and branding activities, such as attending industry trade shows and making speeches at conferences. In addition, we establish our brand recognition to a wider audience by advertising in public areas and large exhibitions and hosting new product launch activities.

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Customer Service and Warranty

In our ongoing efforts to maintain customer satisfaction and improve our products and services, we have a high-quality after-sales team to provide comprehensive after-sales service. We have a dedicated team in China and the United States to provide before- and after-sales services to our customers. They can diagnose issues, either at the customers’ places or remotely, and identify the solutions for the customers’ problems.

We typically offer a standard product warranty to customers of our products. During the warranty period, for any product quality issue on either our software or hardware, we will make repair or replacement free of charge under certain conditions. For product damage caused by the customer’s own improper operation, we will provide repair services with charge.

Our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Initiatives

We believe our continued growth rests on integrating social values into our business. We endeavor to utilize our LiDAR technology and solutions to offer public welfare resources to everyone. Since the inception of our operations, we have established various environmental, social and governance initiatives to comprehensively improve our corporate governance and benefit society.

Environmental Sustainability Initiatives

We recognize the importance of contributing to sustainable development for the benefit of our society and environment. With this in mind, we encourage our employees and partners to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint, and we promote the use of environmentally friendly technology. We strive to minimize the impact of our operations on the environment and promote sustainability and environmental awareness at all levels of our organization. We employ internal environmental protection and procedures to help minimize the use of hazardous materials, energy, and other natural resources, and to minimize the generation of waste. In addition, we implement various environmental protection measures to manage our manufacturing processes, including installation of cotton filter, cartridge dust collector, and activated carbon adsorption devices to appropriately dispose of the manufacturing waste. We also cooperate with qualified third-party waste disposal service providers for other waste, including waste glue, waste alcohol, waste filter cotton, waste activated carbon, and waste packaging barrels. We also urge that our suppliers consider their environmental performance, incorporating environmental considerations as part of our supplier selection process.

Initiatives to Support the COVID-19 Relief Campaign

We make our unique contributions to the COVID-19 relief campaigns globally by empowering the different technologies that served important roles in both bringing goods to people in need and saving lives, for example, through building the core sensor for ventilators at hospitals.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our customers’ unmanned mobile robots equipped with our LiDAR helped transport food, personal protective equipment, clean linens, and other medical supplies to workers and patients to two California field hospitals and a field hospital in Wuhan, China, which minimized the cross-infection risk of person-to-person contact and reduced the workload of the workers at the field hospitals. During the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Guangzhou, China, we also contributed to the prevention and control work led by the Guangzhou government, and worked together with leading Chinese autonomous driving companies to distribute essential daily supplies to the communities subject to travel restrictions.

We also manufactured laser-based oxygen sensors, a critical component of ventilators at intensive care units, for a Canadian hospital system experiencing supply shortages. Leveraging our experience on developing and manufacturing laser-based gas detectors, we were able to quickly ramp up production capacity and delivered over 1,100 units of oxygen sensors by September 2020. As we are one of the few companies that could provide high-quality oxygen sensors to be used in medical devices in a timely manner, we were selected as a manufacturing partner to address the bottlenecks in production of oxygen sensors in California.

Competition

The market for LiDAR solutions for the ADAS, Autonomous Mobility and Robotics sectors is rapidly evolving and competitive, with many potential applications under development. As a result, although we believe that we have the market-leading LiDAR technology, we face competition from a range of companies developing LiDAR products for these applications, some of which may be similar to ours. Our primary competitors include Tier 1 suppliers who also provide LiDAR products and existing LiDAR companies such as Luminar.

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Insurance

In addition to providing social security insurance for our employees as required by mainland China law, we also provide supplemental commercial medical insurance for some of our employees. We maintain a comprehensive general liability insurance covering products liabilities arising from obligations in relation to bodily injury and property damage. In line with general market practice, we do not maintain any business interruption insurance, which is not mandatory under the relevant laws of the mainland China. We do not maintain key-man life insurance or insurance policies covering damages to our IT infrastructure or information technology systems. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Industry — We have limited insurance coverage, which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.”

Regulations

This section sets forth a summary of the most significant rules and regulations that affect our business activities in mainland China or the rights of our shareholders to receive dividends and other distributions from us.

Regulations Relating to Foreign Investment

The Foreign Investment Law of the PRC, or the Foreign Investment Law, was formally adopted by the National People’s Congress on March 15, 2019 and became effective on January 1, 2020. The Foreign Investment Law is formulated to further expand opening-up, vigorously promote foreign investment and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. According to the Foreign Investment Law, foreign investment means any foreign investor’s direct or indirect investment in mainland China, including: (i) establishing Foreign Investment Enterprises, or the FIEs, in mainland China either individually or jointly with other investors; (ii) obtaining stock shares, stock equity, property shares, other similar interests in Chinese domestic enterprises; (iii) investing in new projects in mainland China either individually or jointly with other investors; and (iv) making investment through other means provided by laws, administrative regulations, or by State Council. Foreign investments are entitled to pre-entry national treatment and are subject to the negative list management system. The pre-entry national treatment means that the treatment given to foreign investors and their investments at the stage of investment access is not lower than that of domestic investors and their investments. The negative list management system means that the State implements special administrative procedures for access to foreign investment in specific fields. Foreign investors shall not invest in any forbidden fields stipulated in the negative list and shall meet the conditions stipulated in the negative list before investing in any restricted fields.

Foreign investors’ investment, earnings and other legitimate rights and interests within the territory of mainland China shall be protected in accordance with the law, and all national policies on supporting the development of enterprises shall equally apply to FIEs. The state guarantees that FIEs participate in the formulation of standards in an equal manner and in government procurement activities through fair competition in accordance with the law. The State shall not expropriate any foreign investment except under special circumstances. In special circumstances, the State may levy or expropriate the investment of foreign investors in accordance with the law for the needs of the public interest. The expropriation and requisition shall be conducted in accordance with legal procedures and timely and reasonable compensation shall be given. In carrying out business activities, FIEs shall comply with relevant provisions on labor protection, social insurance, tax, accounting, foreign exchange and other matters stipulated in laws and regulations.

From January 1, 2020, the Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises Law of the PRC, together with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Sino-Foreign Cooperative Joint Ventures were abolished. The organization form, organization and activities of FIEs shall be governed by the Company Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Partnership Enterprise Law of the People’s Republic of China. FIEs established before the implementation of the Foreign Investment Law may retain the original business organization and so on within five years after the implementation of the Foreign Investment Law.

On December 26, 2019, the State Council promulgated the Implementation Regulations on the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, and it further requires that FIEs and domestic enterprises be treated equally with respect to policy making and implementation. Pursuant to the Implementation Regulations on the Foreign Investment Law, if an existing foreign-invested enterprise fails to change its original form pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law as of January 1, 2025, the relevant market regulation departments will not process other registration matters for such enterprise, and may disclose its relevant information to the public.

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On December 30, 2019, the MOFCOM and the SAMR jointly issued the Measures for Reporting of Foreign Investment Information, or the Foreign Investment Information Measures, which came into effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced the Interim Administrative Measures for the Record-filing of the Establishment and Modification of Foreign-invested Enterprises. Since January 1, 2020, for foreign investors carrying out investment activities directly or indirectly in mainland China, foreign investors or FIEs shall submit investment information through the Enterprise Registration System and the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System operated by the SAMR. Foreign investors or FIEs shall disclose their investment information by submitting reports for their establishments, modifications and cancellations and their annual reports in accordance with the Foreign Investment Information Measures. If a foreign-invested enterprise investing in mainland China has finished submitting its reports for its establishment, modifications and cancellation and its annual reports, the relevant information will be shared by the competent market regulation department to the competent commercial department, and does not require such foreign-invested enterprise to submit the reports separately. Where a foreign investor or a foreign-invested enterprise fails to submit the investment information as required, and fails to resubmit or correct such information after being notified by the competent commerce authority, the competent commerce authority shall order it to make corrections within 20 business days. Failure to make corrections within the specified period may subject the foreign investor or the foreign-invested enterprise to fines of up to RMB300,000, or a fine up to RMB500,000 if other severe violations exist.

On December 19, 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission, or the NDRC, and the MOFCOM jointly promulgated the Measures on the Security Review of Foreign Investment, effective on January 18, 2021, setting forth provisions concerning the security review mechanism on foreign investment, including the types of investments subject to review, review scopes and procedures, among others. Led by the NDRC and MOFCOM, the Office of the Working Mechanism shall be established under the NDRC to undertake routine work on the security review of foreign investment. Foreign investors or relevant parties in mainland China shall take the initiative to make a declaration on their investments for security review to the Office of the Working Mechanism prior to (i) making investments in the military industry, military industrial support and other fields relating to the security of national defense, and investments in areas surrounding military facilities and military industry facilities; and (ii) obtaining control over enterprises involved in important agricultural products, important energy and resources, important equipment manufacturing, important infrastructure, important transport services, important cultural products and services, important information technologies and internet products and services, important financial services, key technologies and other important fields relating to national security. Control exists when a foreign investor (i) holds 50% or more equity interests in the enterprise, (ii) has voting rights that can materially impact on the resolutions of the board of directors or shareholders meeting of the enterprise even when it holds less than 50% equity interests in the enterprise, or (iii) has material impact on the enterprise’s business decisions, human resources, finance and technology.

Foreign Investment Industrial Policy

Investment activities in mainland China by foreign investors are principally governed by the Catalog of Industries for Encouraging Foreign Investment, or the Encouraging Catalog, and the Special Administrative Measures for Access of Foreign Investments, or the Negative List, which were promulgated and are amended from time to time by the MOFCOM and the NDRC, and together with the Foreign Investment Law and their respective implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The Encouraging Catalog and the Negative List lay out the basic regulatory framework for foreign investment in mainland China, classifying businesses into three categories with regard to foreign investment: “encouraged,” “restricted,” and “prohibited.” On October 26, 2022, the MOFCOM and the NDRC released the Catalog of Industries for Encouraging Foreign Investment (2022 Version), which became effective on January 1, 2023, to replace the previous one. On December 27, 2021, the MOFCOM and the NDRC released the Special Administrative Measures for Access of Foreign Investments (2021 Version), or the Negative List 2021, which became effective on January 1, 2022, to replace the previous Negative List.

According to the current regulations, any industry not listed in the Negative List 2021 is a permitted industry and generally open to foreign investment unless specifically prohibited or restricted by mainland China laws and regulations.

Our current businesses, including the production and sale of LiDAR products and gas sensors, are not included in the Negative List 2021 and are not otherwise restricted to foreign investment by mainland China laws and regulations. We made this determination by considering the nature of our businesses and the fact that Shanghai Hesai, a wholly foreign owned entity, has been approved by the relevant authorities to conduct such businesses without being subject to restrictions on foreign investment. However, as the Negative List is amended from time to time, and other mainland China laws and regulations on foreign investment restrictions are subject to change as well, we cannot guarantee that our businesses will not become subject to restrictions on foreign investment in the future.

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Regulations Relating to Product Liability

Pursuant to the PRC Product Quality Law, which was promulgated on February 22, 1993 and amended on July 8, 2000, August 27, 2009, and December 29, 2018, a manufacturer is prohibited from producing or selling products that do not meet applicable standards and requirements for safeguarding human health and ensuring human and property safety. Products must be free from unreasonable dangers threatening human and property safety. Where a defective product causes personal injury or property damage, the aggrieved party may make a claim for compensation from the manufacturer or the seller of the product. Manufacturers and sellers of non-compliant products may be ordered to cease the production or sale of the products and could be subject to confiscation of the products and fines. Earnings from sales in violation of such standards or requirements may also be confiscated, and in severe cases, an offender’s business license may be revoked.

On May 28, 2020, the National People’s Congress promulgated the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China, or the PRC Civil Code, which took effect on January 1, 2021 and replaces the Tort Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China, and several other basic civil laws in the PRC. Under the PRC Civil Code, if a product is found to be defective and to compromise the personal and property security of others, the victim may require compensation to be made by the manufacturer or the seller of the product. Where any manufacturer or seller knowingly produces or sells defective products or fails to take effective remedial measures in accordance with the PRC Civil Code and thus causes death or serious damage to the health of another person, such person shall be entitled to claim punitive damages. If the transporter or storekeeper is responsible for the matter, the manufacturer or seller shall have the right to demand compensation for its losses.

Regulations Relating to Import and Export of Goods

Pursuant to the Regulations of the PRC on the Administration of Import and Export of Goods promulgated by the State Council on December 10, 2001 which came into effect on January 1, 2002, the import and export of goods are generally allowed by the mainland China government, but the prohibitions or restrictions explicitly stipulated in the laws or administrative regulations shall still be complied with during the conduct of import and export of goods by individuals or entities. According to the Foreign Trade Law of the PRC promulgated by the SCNPC, on May 12, 1994 which came into effect on July 1, 1994 and lately amended with immediate effect on December 30, 2022, unless otherwise provided by laws and regulations, the mainland China government allows free export and import of goods and technologies, and protects the intellectual property rights associated with international trade. The authorities have canceled the requirements to file records and register formalities for foreign trade operators engaging in the import or export of goods or technology with the MOFCOM or the agency entrusted from December 30, 2022. Pursuant to the Customs Law of the PRC promulgated by the SCNPC, on January 22, 1987 which came into effect on July 1, 1987 and last amended on April 29, 2021, and the Administrative Provisions of the Record-filing of Customs Declaration Agent promulgated by the General Administration of Customs of the PRC on November 19, 2021 which came into effect on January 1, 2022, unless otherwise provided for, the declaration of import or export goods and the payment of duties may be made by the consignees or consignors themselves, or by entrusted customs brokers that have been registered with the customs and such declaration shall be made by filing with the customs.

Regulations Relating to the Control of Radio Transmission Equipment

Pursuant to the Radio Regulation of the People’s Republic of China released by the State Council and the Central Military Commission on September 11, 1993, and effective on the same day, which was subsequently amended and released on November 11, 2016, and came into force on December 1, 2016, it should be applied to the radio regulatory authority of the state for the model approval before production or import of radio transmission equipment which will be sold and used in mainland China, except for micro power short-distance radio transmission equipment. The catalogue of approved models of radio transmitting equipment was published by the radio regulatory authority of the state.

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