Geely has acquired close to 10 per cent of the shares in Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, becoming its largest shareholder in the latest global stakebuilding venture by the ambitious Chinese carmaker.

The owner of the Volvo Cars and Lotus brands built up a 9.69 per cent stake, worth roughly $9bn, Daimler said in a filing late on Friday.

Li Shufu, the chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group who is seeking to build the company into a Chinese answer to the Volkswagen group with brands in every segment of the market, will travel to Germany this week following the disclosure to begin talks with Daimler, according to one person familiar with the details.

Geely, which is racing to build electric cars in order to meet tough Chinese emissions rules that come into force next year, is keen to strike a deal with Daimler over sharing battery technology, according to two people familiar with the company’s thinking.

Daimler is considered among the furthest ahead in the automotive industry in developing pure electric technology, with ambitious plans to release 10 different fully electric vehicles by 2022 and to invest more than €10bn into the technology.

Geely’s expansion, coming only weeks after a $3.9bn move to become the biggest shareholder in truckmaker Volvo AB.

A spokesman for Daimler said: “We welcome any investor with a long term interest in Daimler AG.”

Geely declined to comment.

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