Ding Lei said that he was using old-fashioned business strategies and was no match for his counterparts from Internet companies. He also said that there have been companies expressing interest in HiPhi, including acquisitions and investments.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

HiPhi founder Ding Lei was spotted at the company's Shanghai headquarters after its production shutdown sparked widespread concern.

It was Ding's first public appearance since HiPhi announced its six-month production halt, local media outlet Sina Tech said in a report today, citing a HiPhi employee.

In an internal meeting with employees, Ding apologized to them, saying he was using old-fashioned business strategies and was no match for his counterparts from Internet companies.

Ding said the window for HiPhi to turn around is only three months at the most and he will actively work towards that, according to the report.

Already, several companies have expressed interest in HiPhi, including acquisitions and investments, Ding said.

(HiPhi founder Ding Lei is seen at the company's Shanghai headquarters. Image credit: Sina Tech)

"Things are going to be tough for HiPhi in the next three months, I haven't slept for almost 24 hours," Ding said, adding, "These last few months have been a low point in life for me. I have not been able to come out of a misconception that I can't beat (my counterparts from) the Internet (industry) with traditional business strategies."

Ding said the news of HiPhi's production halt has had a big social impact, and that if the situation can be weathered, it will be a high point for the company and for him personally.

Ding told the employees who stayed on that he wanted everyone to work together and "fight one more time," according to Sina Tech.

On February 18, local media outlet Jiemian first reported that HiPhi -- a brand owned by Human Horizons -- was shutting down production for six months.

This then sparked widespread discussion in China and concerns among car owners that they would not be able to continue to receive the services they were previously promised.

Yesterday, an image shared by car blogger Yuan Qicong on Weibo showed someone selling the new HiPhi Y, which has an official starting price of RMB 339,000 ($47,140), for RMB 199,900.

The blogger said that if a brand has a clear existential crisis, then its vehicles should not be purchased even if they are cheap.

In a retweet of the blogger's Weibo post, Li Xiang, founder, chairman and CEO of (NASDAQ: LI), called on China's policymakers to set up a mechanism to facilitate mergers and acquisitions between car companies.

If the social loss incurred by an M&A due to poor management is 10, the loss of closure is 100, Li said.

Earlier today, HiPhi said in a statement on its mobile app that the company has seen a major restructuring in its day-to-day operations since February 19 and is currently working on various relief initiatives.

During this period, HiPhi will give top priority to efforts including user services, and vehicle after-sales, the statement said.

HiPhi is actively coordinating resources and working to ensure after-sales service of vehicles, and maintenance of connectivity features of vehicles, it said, adding that the vehicle control features, and community section of the HiPhi App are available as normal.

However, HiPhi's charging stations, charging pile installation, and charging function in the App, which includes free charging services, will be temporarily suspended, according to the statement.

($1 = RMB 7.1919)

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