Reuters reports. German watchdog Bafin did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether it was looking into Geely's acquisition of the Daimler stake.

Geely itself is no stranger to the European vehicle business, having bought Sweden's Volvo Cars Corp in 2010.

The group also took a 49 per cent stake in troubled Malaysian carmaker Proton in 2017, as well as a controlling interest in the British sports vehicle marque Lotus.

And in December it advanced further onto Daimler's turf, investing in AB Volvo, the world's number two truck manufacturer after the Stuttgarters. "My investment in Daimler reflects this vision", Mr Li said.

China's avid search for footholds in Europe has raised hackles among some politicians in Berlin, Paris and Brussels.

Daimler now has a joint venture with BYD in China to build electric cars.

It reported a 24% leap in net profits past year, to 10.9 billion euros, when it presented its annual earnings earlier this month.

Geely considers that there is potential in Daimler due to the fact it its developing internet connections that use high speed for autonomous cars during at a time Li says that the satellite beam may one day become more important overall for the auto industry. It is the owner of Volvo cares, LEVC, the black cabs of London maker, and in 2017 took a majority share in Proton the Malaysian automaker, a stake of $3.3 billion in Volvo trucks and control of Terrarfugia the flying vehicle start up business. Volkswagen AG is owned by the Porsche-Piech billionaire clan with the government of Qatar counting as a major stakeholder, and BMW is owned by the wealthy billionaire Quandt-Klatten family.

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