Share prices of Chinese electric carmaker Li Auto surged by nearly 50 percent above its initial pricing, underscoring the continued appetite for Chinese tech stocks in the United States. After pricing its initial public offering (IPO) at $11.50 per American depositary receipt (ADR) on Thursday, Li Auto's shares were trading at above $16 per share.

Li Auto initially set its IPO price range between $8 and $10 per ADRs. After selling more than 95 million ADRs, Li Auto was able to raise over $1.093 billion, making it one of the largest IPOs by a Chinese company in the US since NIO and Tencent Music Entertainment Group's IPOs in 2018. NIO managed to raise $1.15 billion during its IPO in September 2018, followed by Tencent Music's $1.07 billion IPO in December 2018.

The company's ADRs began trading on the NASDAQ in New York on Thursday. Each ADR represents two of the company's ordinary shares. Li Auto worked with CICC, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and UBS, which all acted as bookrunners for the transaction.

Li Auto, which was founded by Chinese businessman Xiang Li, was one of the first companies to commercialize extended-range technologies for electric vehicles. According to its prospectus, the company is already mass-producing its first electric vehicle model; a fully-electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) called the Li One. In China, the company stated that it had already delivered more than 10,400 units of the new model as of June.  

The founding partner of venture capital firm Future Capital, Mingming Huang, noted that electric vehicle stocks have become one of the hottest equities to buy, as they are expected to provide massive opportunities for investors. He added that the sector is rapidly growing and he believes that the next trillion-dollar company will be an electric startup.

The hype for electric vehicle stocks comes after the continued rally of Tesla's stocks since the start of the year. The stock price of the 16-year old company, which is owned by billionaire inventor Elon Musk, has more than tripled since January when it was still trading at around $430 per share. As of Wednesday, Tesla's stocks were trading at around $1,499 per share. The recent surge in its share prices has made Tesla's the world's most valuable carmaker, ahead of industry veterans such as Toyota Motor, Hyundai, and Volkswagen.

Apart from Li Auto, Chinese carmaker Xpeng Motors is reportedly also planning to list its shares in the U.S. sometime this year. According to sources familiar with the matter, Xpeng has already made a confidential filing for a listing with a U.S. exchange.