Li Shufu, the chairman and main owner of Chinese carmaker Geely, has amassed a stake of 9.69 percent in Daimler AG, the German company said in a regulatory filing Friday.
The stake, worth nearly $9 billion at the current market price for Daimler shares, makes Li the biggest single shareholder in the maker of Mercedes Benz cars, trucks and vans.
Sources told Reuters this month that Geely was buying Daimler shares as it seeks an alliance in electric vehicle technology -- a response to Chinese requirements for more clean cars to be put on the road to cut pollution.
A Daimler spokesman called the stake purchase a private investment by Li.
"We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler's innovative prowess, strategy and future potential," the spokesman said in response to a request for comment.
"Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking."
Geely has been building up a stake of just under 10 percent through purchases of Daimler’s shares in the stock market in recent weeks.
Zhejiang Geely owns Volvo and last year acquired a 49.9 percent stake in Malaysian automaker Proton.
In addition, last December Geely spent $3.9 billion to become the biggest shareholder of Volvo AB, which is the world's second-largest truck maker.
Last year Geely also won control of British sports car maker Lotus while in 2013 it purchased Manganese Bronze Holdings, rescuing the maker of London's iconic black cabs after it entered administration.
Geely also plans to introduce to Europe its new brand Lynk & CO, which started sales in its home country last year.
Following the potential deal, Zhejiang Geely would surpass Kuwait Investment Authority, as Daimler's top shareholder.
Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund owned about 6.8 percent of Daimler's shares as Sept. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Reuters, Bloomberg and Automotive News Europe contributed to this report.