20-F 1 f20f2022_ezgotech.htm ANNUAL REPORT

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

 

 REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022

  

OR

  

 TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

  

For the transition period from _________ to _____________.

  

OR

  

  SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report:

 

Commission file number: 001-39833

 

EZGO Technologies Ltd.

(Exact name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

British Virgin Islands

(Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

 

Building #A, Floor 2, Changzhou Institute of Dalian University of Technology,

Science and Education Town,

Wujin District, Changzhou City

Jiangsu, China 213164

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

Jianhui Ye

Tel: (86) 0519-83683805

Building #A, Floor 2, Changzhou Institute of Dalian University of Technology,

Science and Education Town,

Wujin District, Changzhou City

Jiangsu, China 213164

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile Number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class   Trading symbol   Name of Each Exchange On Which Registered
Ordinary shares, par value
US$0.001 per share
  EZGO   Nasdaq Capital Market

 

 

 

 

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

The number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of January 18, 2023 was: 25,626,891 ordinary shares, par value $0.001 per share.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

Yes  ☐  No  ☒

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 

Yes  ☐  No  ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

Yes ☒  No  ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

 

Yes  ☒  No  ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer ☐ Accelerated filer ☐ Non-accelerated filer Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

 

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP ☐ International Financial Reporting Standards as issued ☐ Other
  by the International Accounting Standards Board  

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow: Item 17  ☐  Item 18  ☐

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  ☐  No 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EZGO TECHNOLOGIES LTD.

FORM 20-F ANNUAL REPORT

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

    Page
     
  PART I 1
     
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers 5
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable 5
Item 3. Key Information 5
Item 3A. [Reserved] 17
Item 4. Information On The Company 59
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments 93
Item 5. Operating And Financial Review And Prospects 93
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management And Employees 104
Item 7. Major Shareholders And Related Party Transactions 111
Item 8. Financial Information 113
Item 9. The Offer And Listing 113
Item 10. Additional Information 113
Item 11. Quantitative And Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 130
Item 12. Description Of Securities Other Than Equity Securities 130
     
  PART II 131
     
Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages And Delinquencies 131
Item 14. Material Modifications To The Rights Of Security Holders And Use Of Proceeds 131
Item 15. Controls And Procedures 132
Item 16. [Reserved] 133
Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert 133
Item 16B. Code Of Ethics 133
Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services 133
Item 16D. Exemptions From The Listing Standards For Audit Committees 134
Item 16E. Purchases Of Equity Securities By The Issuer And Affiliated Purchasers 134
Item 16F. Change In Registrant’s Certifying Accountant 134
Item 16G. Corporate Governance 134
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure 134
Item 16I Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions That Prevent Inspections 134
     
  PART III 135
     
Item 17. Financial Statements 135
Item 18. Financial Statements 135
Item 19. Exhibits 135

 

i

 

 

PART I

 

CERTAIN INFORMATION

 

In this annual report on Form 20-F, unless otherwise indicated, “EZGO” refers to EZGO Technologies Ltd., a British Virgin Islands business company; “we,” “us,” “our,” “our company,” the “Company” or similar terms refer to EZGO Technologies Ltd. and/or its consolidated subsidiaries, other than the variable interest entity, Jiangsu EZGO Electronic Technologies, Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Jiangsu Baozhe Electric Technologies, Co., Ltd.), a PRC company, unless the context otherwise indicates; and “VIE” refers to the variable interest entity, Jiangsu EZGO Electronic Technologies, Co., Ltd. EZGO conducts operations in China through Changzhou EZGO Enterprise Management Co., Ltd. (“Changzhou EZGO,” or the “WFOE”), the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, and EZGO does not conduct any business on its own. The financial results of the VIE and its subsidiaries are consolidated into our financial statements for accounting purposes, but we do not hold any equity interest in the VIE or any of its subsidiaries. Investors are purchasing an interest in EZGO, the British Virgin Islands holding company. 

 

Unless the context indicates otherwise, all references to “China” and the “PRC” refer to the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong and Macau. The term “Chinese” has a correlative meaning for the purpose of this annual report. All references to “Renminbi” or “RMB” are to the legal currency of China and all references to “U.S. dollars,” “dollars,” “US$” and “$” are to the legal currency of the United States of America (the “United States”). This annual report contains translations of Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars at specified rates solely for the convenience of the reader. We make no representation that the Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts referred to in this annual report could have been or could be converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all. On September 30, 2022, the middle price of RMB exchange rate announced by the People’s Bank of China was RMB7.0998 to $1.00.

 

Investing in EZGO’s securities is highly speculative and involves a significant degree of risk. EZGO is not an operating company established in the PRC, but a holding company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, or the BVI. As a holding company with no material operations of its own, EZGO conducts the majority of its operations through contractual arrangements with its operating entities established in the PRC, primarily the VIE, in which EZGO does not hold any equity interest, and the VIE’s subsidiaries based in the PRC, with substantially all of their operations and assets in China. This variable interest entity structure involves unique risks to investors. The contractual arrangements with the VIE have not been tested in court. This variable interest entity structure is used to provide investors with contractual exposure to foreign investment in China-based companies where Chinese law prohibits or restricts direct foreign investment in the operating companies. Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership in internet-based businesses, we do not have any equity ownership of the VIE, instead we receive the economic benefits of the VIE’s business operations through certain contractual arrangements.

 

As a result of such series of contractual arrangements, EZGO and its subsidiaries become the primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes and the VIE as a PRC consolidated entity under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of the VIE and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Neither we nor our investors own any equity ownership in, direct foreign investment in, or control through such ownership/investment of the VIE. These contractual arrangements have not been tested in a court of law in the PRC. As a result, investors in EZGO’s ordinary shares are not purchasing an equity interest in the VIE or its subsidiaries but instead are purchasing an equity interest in EZGO, the BVI holding company.

 

Investors may never hold equity interests in the Chinese operating company. The Chinese regulatory authorities could disallow this variable interest entity structure, which would likely result in a material change in EZGO’s operations primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and/or a material change in the value of the securities we have registered for sale, including that it could cause the value of EZGO’s securities to significantly decline or become worthless. For a description of our corporate structure and contractual arrangements with the VIE, see “Item 4C. Organizational Structure” in this annual report. See also “Item 3. Key Information— D. Risk Factors— Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” beginning on page 19 for certain risks related to the contractual arrangements with the VIE.

 

In addition, as EZGO conducts substantially all of its operations in China through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, it is subject to legal and operational risks associated with having substantially all of its operations in China, which risks could result in a material change in EZGO’s operations and/or the value of the securities EZGO has registered for sale or could significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to offer or continue to offer EZGO’s securities to investors and cause the value of EZGO’s securities to significantly decline or be worthless. Recently, the PRC government initiated a series of regulatory actions and made a number of public statements on the regulation of business operations in China with little advance notice, including cracking down on illegal activities in the securities market, enhancing supervision over China-based companies listed overseas, adopting new measures to extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews, and expanding efforts in anti-monopoly enforcement. Our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, is of the view that as of the date of this annual report, we are not directly subject to these regulatory actions or statements, as we have not implemented any monopolistic behavior and EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China do not involve the collection of user data, implicate cybersecurity, or involve any other type of restricted industry. As further advised by our PRC counsel, as of the date of this annual report, no effective laws or regulations in the PRC explicitly require us to seek approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (the “CSRC”) or any other PRC governmental authorities for our overseas listing, nor has our company, any of our subsidiaries, or the VIE or any of its subsidiaries, received any inquiry, notice, warning or sanctions regarding our planned overseas listing from the CSRC or any other PRC governmental authorities. However, since these statements and regulatory actions by the PRC government are newly published and official guidance and related implementation rules have not been issued, it is highly uncertain what the potential impact such modified or new laws and regulations will have on the VIE’s daily business operation, the ability to accept foreign investments and list on a U.S. or other foreign exchange. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (the “SCNPC”) or other PRC regulatory authorities may in the future promulgate laws, regulations or implementing rules that requires our company, the VIE or any of its subsidiaries to obtain regulatory approval from Chinese authorities before offering securities in the U.S. Any future Chinese, U.S., BVI or other rules and regulations that place restrictions on capital raising or other activities by companies with extensive operations in China could adversely affect EZGO’s business and results of operations. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors— Risks Related to Doing Business in China” beginning on page 19 for a detailed description of various risks related to doing business in China and other information that should be considered before making a decision to purchase any of EZGO’s securities.

 

1

 

 

As a holding company, EZGO relies on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by its operating subsidiaries for cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to its shareholders or to service any expenses it may incur. Our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends is based upon their respective distributable earnings. Current PRC regulations permit our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to their respective shareholders only out of their accumulated profits, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, under PRC law, each of our PRC subsidiaries is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds until such reserve funds reach 50% of its registered capital. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. If any of our PRC subsidiaries incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing such debt may restrict its ability to pay dividends to EZGO. To date, there have not been any such dividends or other distributions from our PRC subsidiaries to our subsidiaries located outside of China. In addition, as of the date of this annual report, none of our PRC subsidiaries had ever issued any dividends or distributions to EZGO or its shareholders outside of China. Furthermore, as of the date of this annual report, neither EZGO nor any of its subsidiaries had ever paid dividends or made distributions to U.S. investors. EZGO is permitted under PRC laws and regulations as an offshore holding company to provide funding to its PRC subsidiaries in China through shareholder loans or capital contributions, subject to satisfaction of applicable government registration, approval and filing requirements. According to the relevant PRC regulations on foreign-invested enterprises in China, there are no quantity limits on EZGO’s ability to make capital contributions to its PRC subsidiaries. However, our PRC subsidiaries may not procure loans which exceed the difference between their total investment amount as recorded in the Foreign Investment Comprehensive Management Information System and their respective registered capital or 2.5 times of their net worth. In the future, cash proceeds raised from overseas financing activities may continue to be transferred by EZGO to the PRC subsidiaries via capital contribution or shareholder loans, as the case may be. EZGO intends to retain most, if not all, of its available funds and any future earnings for the development and growth of its business in China. EZGO does not expect to pay dividends or distribute earnings in the foreseeable future. EZGO intends to settle amounts owed under the contractual arrangements with the VIE.

 

Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, currently EZGO’s PRC subsidiaries may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” including payment of dividends to EZGO without the approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant PRC governmental authorities may limit or eliminate EZGO’s ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions. Since a significant amount of EZGO’s PRC revenue is denominated in Renminbi, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit its ability to utilize revenue generated in Renminbi to fund EZGO’s business activities outside of the PRC, make investments, service any debt EZGO may incur outside of China or pay dividends or make distributions in foreign currencies to EZGO’s shareholders, including holders of EZGO’s ordinary shares. In addition, any transfer of funds by EZGO to its PRC subsidiaries, either as a shareholder loan or as an increase in the registered capital, is subject to a series of procedural requirements imposed by SAFE, SAMR, MOFCOM, or their local counterparts. This may hinder or delay EZGO’s deployment of cash into its subsidiaries’ and the VIE’s business, which could result in a material and adverse effect on EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. See risks disclosed under “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors— Risks Related to Doing Business in China – Restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize our PRC revenue effectively.” on page 25, “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China – PRC regulations relating to foreign exchange registration of overseas investment by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.” on pages 26, and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China – The PRC government could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends to U.S. investors, which could materially adversely affect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.” on page 28.

 

To date, transfers have occurred between EZGO, its subsidiaries, and the VIE. Prior to the completion of EZGO’s initial public offering in January 2021, the sources of funds of the VIE and its subsidiaries primarily consisted of shareholders capital injection and cash generated from operations.

 

2

 

 

After the completion of our initial public offering, our holding company EZGO transferred funds through a shareholder loan to EZGO’s wholly-owned subsidiary, China EZGO Group Ltd. (“EZGO HK”). EZGO HK transferred funds through an increase in the registered capital to EZGO HK’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Changzhou EZGO. EZGO and Changzhou EZGO provided loans to the VIE, subject to statutory limits and restrictions. 

 

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, EZGO provided an interest-free loan of US$15,853,200 to EZGO HK; EZGO also paid US$3,017,337 on behalf of the VIE for the acquisition of Tianjin Jiahao Bicycle Co., Ltd. and insurance fees; and EZGO HK injected registered capital of US$15,843,000 into Changzhou EZGO. Changzhou EZGO provided loans of US$13,323,711 to the VIE and had US$1,914,828 of payables due to the VIE.

 

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, EZGO provided an additional interest-free loan of US$308,200 to EZGO HK and provided an interest-free loan of US$8,000,000 to Changzhou EZGO; and EZGO HK injected registered capital of US$313,000 into Changzhou EZGO. Changzhou EZGO provided loans of US$335,714 to the VIE and had US$7,589,951 of payables due to the VIE and its subsidiaries.

 

The details of loans provided by Changzhou EZGO are shown below:

  

Start Date  Maturity Date  Amount   Annual Interest Rate 
April 6, 2021  April 5, 2026  $3,514,444    5%
June 9, 2021  June 8, 2026  $2,108,667    5%
September 17, 2021  September 16, 2024  $562,311    4%
September 29, 2021  September 28, 2024  $2,361,707    4%
October 13, 2021  October 13, 2026   3,514,444    Chinese Loan Prime Rate (LPR)+0.25% 
December 21, 2021  December 21, 2024   309,271    4%
Total     $12,370,844      

 

For details of the transfers between EZGO, its subsidiaries, and the VIE, see “Item 3. Key Information — Transfer of Cash through our Organization.” For details of VIE’s financial information, see “Item 3. Key Information —VIE Financial Information” for the condensed consolidating schedule and pages F-11 to F-14 of  this annual report. 

 

We maintain bank accounts in China, including cash in Renminbi in the amount of RMB31,208,525 and cash in USD in the amount of US$7,187 as of September 30, 2022. Funds are transferred between EZGO, its subsidiaries, and the VIE for their daily operation purposes. The transfer of funds between our PRC subsidiaries, and the VIE are subject to the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Private Lending Cases (2020 Revision, the “Provisions on Private Lending Cases”), which was implemented on August 20, 2020 to regulate the financing activities between natural persons, legal persons and unincorporated organizations. The Provisions on Private Lending Cases set forth that private lending contracts will be upheld as invalid under the circumstance that (i) the lender swindles loans from financial institutions for relending; (ii) the lender relends the funds obtained by means of a loan from another profit-making legal person, raising funds from its employees, illegally taking deposits from the public; (iii) the lender who has not obtained the lending qualification according to the law lends money to any unspecified object of the society for the purpose of making profits; (iv) the lender lends funds to a borrower when the lender knows or should have known that the borrower intended to use the borrowed funds for illegal or criminal purposes; (v) the lending is in violation of public orders or good morals; or (vi) the lending is in violation of mandatory provisions of laws or administrative regulations. Due to the circumstances aforementioned do not exist in the PRC subsidiaries’ operations, DeHeng Law Offices, is of the view that the Provisions on Private Lending Cases does not prohibit using cash generated from one subsidiary to fund another subsidiary’s operations. We have not been notified of any other restriction which could limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to transfer cash between subsidiaries. As of the date of this annual report, we had not installed any cash management policies that dictate how funds are transferred between EZGO, our subsidiaries, and the VIE.

 

Most of our cash is in Renminbi, and the PRC government could prevent the cash maintained in mainland China or Hong Kong from leaving, could restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends. For details regarding the restrictions on our ability to transfer cash between EZGO, our subsidiaries and the VIE, see “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China— Restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize our PRC revenue effectively,” “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China— PRC regulation on loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control in currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our initial public offering or follow-on offering to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand EZGO’s business,” and “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The PRC government could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends to U.S. investors, which could materially adversely affect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.” 

 

3

 

 

Effect of Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act 

 

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (the “HFCA Act”), which was signed into law on December 18, 2020, requires a foreign company to submit that it is not owned or manipulated by a foreign government or disclose the ownership of governmental entities and certain additional information, if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, is unable to inspect completely a foreign auditor that signs the company’s financial statements. If the PCAOB is unable to inspect the Company’s auditors for three consecutive years, the Company’s securities will be prohibited from trading on a national exchange. The U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act on June 22, 2021, which, if enacted, would decrease the number of non-inspection years from three years to two, thus reducing the time period before EZGO’s ordinary shares may be prohibited from trading or delisted. Due to a position taken by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, the PCAOB is prevented from fully inspecting auditing records and evaluating quality control procedures of the auditors based in China. As a result, the investors may be deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. Any inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China could make it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of these accounting firms’ audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause existing and potential investors in EZGO’s ordinary shares to lose confidence in our reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements. These developments could add uncertainties to EZGO’s offering, including the possibility that the SEC may prohibit trading in EZGO’s securities if the PCAOB cannot fully inspect or investigate our auditor and we fail to appoint a new auditor that is accessible to the PCAOB and that Nasdaq can delist EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued its determination report that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and in Hong Kong, because of positions taken by PRC authorities in those jurisdictions, and the PCAOB included in the report of its determination a list of the accounting firms that are headquartered in mainland China or Hong Kong. This report does not include our former auditors, Marcum Asia CPAs LLP (formerly known as Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk LLP (“MarcumAsia”) and Briggs & Veselka Co., LLP (“Briggs & Veselka”), or our current auditor, Wei, Wei & Co., LLP (“WWC”). On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB announced that it had signed a Statement of Protocol (the “Statement of Protocol”) with the CSRC and the Ministry of Finance of China (“MOF”). The terms of the Statement of Protocol would grant the PCAOB complete access to audit work papers and other information so that it may inspect and investigate PCAOB-registered accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB announced that it has secured complete access to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong and voted to vacate the previous 2021 determination report to the contrary. Our current auditor, WWC, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the future, if there is any regulatory change or step taken by PRC regulators that does not permit our auditor to provide audit documentations located in China to the PCAOB for inspection or investigation, investors may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection. Any audit reports not issued by auditors that are completely inspected by the PCAOB, or a lack of PCAOB inspections of audit work undertaken in China that prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditors’ audits and their quality control procedures, could result in a lack of assurance that our financial statements and disclosures are adequate and accurate, then such lack of inspection could cause EZGO’s securities to be delisted from the stock exchange.

 

On December 2, 2021, the SEC adopted final amendments to its rules implementing the HFCA Act. Such final rules establish procedures that the SEC will follow in (i) determining whether a registrant is a “Commission-Identified Issuer” (a registrant identified by the SEC as having filed an annual report with an audit report issued by a registered public accounting firm that is located in a foreign jurisdiction and that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by an authority in that jurisdiction) and (ii) prohibiting the trading of an issuer that is a Commission-Identified Issuer for three consecutive years under the HFCA Act. The SEC began identifying Commission-Identified Issuers for the fiscal years beginning after December 18, 2020. A Commission-Identified Issuer is required to comply with the submission and disclosure requirements in the annual report for each year in which it was identified. If a registrant is identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer based on its annual report for the fiscal year ended, for example, September 30, 2021, the registrant will be required to comply with the submission or disclosure requirements in its annual report filing covering the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been, and do not expect to be identified by the SEC under the HFCA Act. However, whether the PCAOB will continue to conduct inspections and investigations completely to its satisfaction of PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong is subject to uncertainty and depends on a number of factors out of our, and our auditor’s control including positions taken by authorities of the PRC. The PCAOB is expected to continue to demand complete access to inspections and investigations against accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong in the future and states that it has already made plans to resume regular inspections in early 2023 and beyond. The PCAOB is required under the HFCA Act to make its determination on an annual basis with regards to its ability to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms based in the mainland China and Hong Kong. The possibility of being a “Commission-Identified Issuer” and risk of delisting could continue to adversely affect the trading price of our securities. Should the PCAOB again encounter impediments to inspections and investigations in mainland China or Hong Kong as a result of positions taken by any authority in either jurisdiction, the PCAOB will make determinations under the HFCAA as and when appropriate.

 

For details on the effects of HFCA Act on us, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors— Risks Related to Doing Business in China — EZGO’s ordinary shares may be delisted under the HFCA Act if the PCAOB is unable to adequately inspect audit documentation located in China. The delisting of EZGO’s ordinary shares, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct adequate inspections deprives our investors with the benefits of such inspections. Furthermore, on June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which, if enacted, would amend the HFCA Act and require the SEC to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on any U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections for two consecutive years instead of three.” on page 33.

 

4

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This annual report contains “forward-looking statements” for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that represent our beliefs, projections and predictions about future events. All statements other than statements of historical fact are “forward-looking statements,” including any projections of earnings, revenue or other financial items, any statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations, any statements concerning proposed new projects or other developments, any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, any statements of management’s beliefs, goals, strategies, intentions and objectives, and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar expressions, as well as statements in the future tense, identify forward-looking statements.

 

These statements are necessarily subjective and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements described in or implied by such statements. Actual results may differ materially from expected results described in our forward-looking statements, including with respect to correct measurement and identification of factors affecting our business or the extent of their likely impact, and the accuracy and completeness of the publicly available information with respect to the factors upon which our business strategy is based or the success of our business.

 

Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether, or the times by which, our performance or results may be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time those statements are made and management’s belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, those factors discussed under the headings “Risk Factors,” “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects,” and elsewhere in this annual report.

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not Applicable.

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not Applicable.

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

Contractual Arrangements and Corporate Structure 

 

EZGO was incorporated in the BVI on January 24, 2019. EZGO’s wholly owned subsidiary, EZGO HK, formerly known as Hong Kong JKC Group Co., Limited, was incorporated in Hong Kong on February 13, 2019. EZGO HK, in turn, holds all of the capital stock of Changzhou EZGO, formerly known as Changzhou Jiekai New Energy Technology Company, which was incorporated in China on June 12, 2019 and Changzhou Langyi Electronic Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Changzhou Langyi”), which was incorporated in China on August 6, 2021. Changzhou EZGO has obtained the contractual rights to determine the most significant economic activities of the VIE and also receives the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE, through a series of contractual arrangements (the “VIE Agreements”). See “– Contractual Arrangements with the VIE and Its Shareholders.” EZGO conducts its business in the PRC primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries, Changzhou Hengmao Power Battery Technology Co., Ltd. (“Hengmao Power Battery”), Jiangsu Cenbird E-Motorcycle Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Jiangsu Cenbird”), Changzhou Yizhiying IoT Technologies Co., Ltd., (“Yizhiying IoT”), Tianjin Dilang Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Tianjin Dilang”) and Tianjin Jiahao Bicycle Co., Ltd. (“Tianjin Jiahao”) since EZGO, through contractual arrangements with the VIE, obtained the rights to determine the most significant economic activities and also receives the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE beginning in November 2019.

 

5

 

 

As a result of such series of contractual arrangements, EZGO and its subsidiaries become the primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes and the VIE as a PRC consolidated entity under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of the VIE and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Neither we nor EZGO’s investors own any equity ownership in, direct foreign investment in, or control through such ownership/investment of the VIE. These contractual arrangements have not been tested in a court of law in the PRC. As a result, investors in EZGO’s ordinary shares are not purchasing an equity interest in the VIE or its subsidiaries but instead are purchasing an equity interest in EZGO, the BVI holding company.

 

The diagram below shows our corporate structure as of the date of this annual report, including the VIE and its subsidiaries. However, investors are cautioned that the enforceability of such VIE Agreements has not been tested in a court of law. EZGO conducts operations in China primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, and EZGO does not conduct any business on its own. The VIE structure is used to provide investors with contractual exposure to foreign investment in China-based companies where Chinese law prohibits or restricts direct foreign investment in the operating companies. Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership in internet-based businesses, we do not have any equity ownership of the VIE, instead we receive the economic benefits of the VIE’s business operations through certain contractual arrangements. As a result of such series of contractual arrangements, EZGO and its subsidiaries become the primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes and the VIE as a PRC consolidated entity under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of the VIE and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Neither we nor EZGO’s investors own any equity ownership in, direct foreign investment in, or control through such ownership/investment of the VIE. Investors are purchasing an interest in EZGO, the BVI holding company.

 

 

6

 

 

Contractual Arrangements with the VIE and Its Shareholders 

 

Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership in internet-based businesses, neither we nor our subsidiaries own any equity interest in the VIE. Instead, we receive the economic benefits of the VIE’s business operations through the VIE Agreements. Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and its equity holders entered into the VIE Agreements on November 8, 2019. The VIE Agreements are designed to provide Changzhou EZGO with contractual rights, and obligations, including certain control rights and the rights in the assets, property and revenue of the VIE, to (i) determine the most significant economic activities of the VIE, (ii) receive the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE, most importantly the ability to consolidate the financial statements of the VIE with the financial statements of our holding company, EZGO under U.S. GAAP, for which we are the primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase or designate any third party to purchase all or part of the equity interests in and assets of the VIE when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. However, The VIE Agreements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the VIE and its subsidiaries, and the enforceability of the VIE Agreements has not been tested in a court of law, and the PRC government may take actions to exert more oversight and control over offerings by China based issuers conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in such companies, or could disallow the VIE Agreements, which would likely result in a material change in EZGO’s operations primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and/or a material change in the value of the securities we have registered for sale, including that it could cause the value of EZGO’s securities could to significantly decline or become worthless. Specifically, the legal environment in the PRC is not as developed as in other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability, as a BVI holding company, to enforce these contractual arrangements and doing so may be quite costly. There are also substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules regarding the status of the rights of Changzhou EZGO with respect to its contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structure will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or the VIE are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures. In addition, the enforceability of the various contracts described above by our company against the VIE is dependent upon the shareholders of the VIE. If the shareholders of the VIE fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we could be unable to enforce the contractual arrangements that enable us to consolidate the VIE’s operations and financial results in our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP as the primary beneficiary. If this happens, we would need to deconsolidate the VIE. The majority of our assets, including the necessary licenses to conduct business in China are held by the VIE and its subsidiaries and a significant part of our revenues are generated by the VIE and its subsidiaries. An event that results in the deconsolidation of the VIE would have a material effect on EZGO’s operations primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and result in the value of its securities diminishing substantially or even become worthless. For a detailed description of the risks associated with our corporate structure, please refer to risks disclosed under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” on page 19.

 

As a result of our direct ownership in Changzhou EZGO and the contractual arrangements with the VIE, we are regarded as the primary beneficiary of Jiangsu EZGO, and we treat the VIE as our consolidated variable interest entity under U.S. GAAP, which generally refers to an entity in which we do not have any equity interests but whose financial results are consolidated into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP because we have a controlling financial interest in, and thus are the primary beneficiary of, that entity. We have consolidated the financial results of the VIE and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

 

Each of the VIE Agreements is described in detail below and each of which is currently in full force and effect:

 

Exclusive Management Consulting and Technical Service Agreement

 

Pursuant to the Exclusive Management Consulting and Technical Service Agreement, dated November 8, 2019, between Changzhou EZGO and the VIE (the “VIE Exclusive Management Agreement”), the VIE agrees to engage Changzhou EZGO as its exclusive provider of management consulting, technical support, intellectual property license and relevant services, including all services within the VIE’s business scope and decided by Changzhou EZGO from time to time as necessary. The VIE pays to Changzhou EZGO service fees within three months after each fiscal year end. The service fees are set at 95% (or a percentage adjusted by Changzhou EZGO in its sole discretion) of the after-tax profit after the deficit of the prior fiscal year is covered and the statutory common reserve is extracted. Changzhou EZGO exclusively owns any intellectual property arising from the performance of the VIE Exclusive Management Agreement. The VIE Exclusive Management Agreement is effective for twenty years unless earlier terminated as set forth in the agreement or other written agreements entered into by the parties thereto. The VIE Exclusive Management Agreement shall be extended automatically at the end of its term, until Changzhou EZGO’s business term or the VIE’s business term expires, unless otherwise notified by Changzhou EZGO in writing. During the term of the VIE Exclusive Management Agreement, the VIE may not terminate the VIE Exclusive Management Agreement except in the case of Changzhou EZGO’s gross negligence or fraud, or VIE Exclusive Management Agreement or applicable PRC laws provide otherwise. Changzhou EZGO may terminate the VIE Exclusive Management Agreement by 30-day written notice to the VIE at any time.

 

Equity Pledge Agreement

 

Pursuant to the Equity Pledge Agreement, dated November 8, 2019, among Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and the equity holders of the VIE (the “VIE Equity Pledge Agreement”), the equity holders of the VIE have pledged 100% of their equity interests in the VIE to Changzhou EZGO to guarantee performance of all obligations under the VIE Exclusive Management Agreement, the VIE Loan Agreement (defined hereafter), the VIE Exclusive Call Option Agreement (defined hereafter) and the VIE Proxy Agreement (defined hereafter). If any event of default as provided for therein occurs, Changzhou EZGO, as the pledgee, will be entitled to dispose of the pledged equity interests according to applicable PRC laws. On November 28, 2019, Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and all its equity holders completed the registration of the equity pledge with the relevant office of State Administration of Market Regulation (“SAMR”, formerly known as State Administration for Industry and Commerce, or the SAIC) in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law. 

 

7

 

 

Exclusive Call Option Agreement

 

Pursuant to the Exclusive Call Option Agreement, dated November 8, 2019, among Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and the equity holders of the VIE (the “VIE Exclusive Call Option Agreement”), each of the equity holders of the VIE has irrevocably granted Changzhou EZGO an exclusive option to purchase, or to designate other persons to purchase, to the extent permitted by applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, all of the equity interests and assets in the VIE from its equity holders. The equity holders of the VIE agree that, without the prior written consent of Changzhou EZGO, they will not dispose of their equity interests in the VIE or create or allow any encumbrance on their equity interests. The purchase price for the equity interest is to be the minimum price permitted by applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, or the amount that the equity holders actually pay to the VIE regarding the equity, whichever is lower. The purchase price for the assets is to be the minimum price permitted by applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, or the net book value of the assets, whichever is lower. The VIE Exclusive Call Option Agreement expires when all the equity interests or all the assets are transferred pursuant to the agreement.

 

Proxy Agreement

 

Pursuant to the Proxy Agreement, dated November 8, 2019, among Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and each of equity holders of the VIE (the “VIE Proxy Agreement”), each of the equity holders irrevocably authorizes Changzhou EZGO to exercise his or her rights as an equity holder of the VIE, including the right to attend equity holders meetings, to exercise voting rights and to transfer all or a part of his or her equity interests therein pursuant to the VIE Exclusive Call Option Agreement. During the term of the VIE Proxy Agreement, the VIE and all its equity holders may not terminate the VIE Proxy Agreement except when the VIE Proxy Agreement or applicable PRC laws provide otherwise.

 

Loan Agreement

 

Pursuant to the Loan Agreement, dated November 8, 2019 (the “VIE Loan Agreement”), Changzhou EZGO agrees to provide the VIE with loans of different amounts at an annual interest rate of 24% according to the VIE’s needs from time to time. The term of each loan is 20 years, which can be extended with the written consent of both parties. During the term of the loan or the extended term of the loan, the VIE may not prepay any loan without the written consent of Changzhou EZGO while in case of certain circumstances, the VIE must repay the loan in advance upon Changzhou EZGO’s written request.

 

Spousal Consent Letter

 

The spouses of individual equity holders of the VIE have each signed a spousal consent letter. Under the spousal consent letter, the signing spouse unconditionally and irrevocably has agreed to the execution by his or her spouse of the VIE Equity Pledge Agreement, the VIE Exclusive Call Option Agreement and the VIE Proxy Agreement, and that his or her spouse may perform, amend or terminate such agreements without his or her consent. In addition, in the event that the spouse obtains any equity interest in the VIE held by his or her spouse for any reason, he or she agrees to be bound by and sign any legal documents substantially similar to the contractual arrangements entered into by his or her spouse, as may be amended from time to time.

 

Through the current contractual arrangements, we have established a contractual relationship with all equity holders of the VIE. Pursuant to these agreements, all equity holders of the VIE have irrevocably authorized Changzhou EZGO to exercise voting rights and all other rights as the equity holder and pledged all of his or her equity interests in the VIE to Changzhou EZGO as collateral to secure performance of all of his or her obligations under these agreements. However, the equity holders of the VIE may have potential conflicts of interest with us and may breach, or cause the VIE to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and the VIE. Any failure by the VIE or equity holders of the VIE to perform his or her obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on EZGO’s business primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and financial condition. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” on page 19.

 

Based on the advice of our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, that:

 

  the ownership structure of the VIE and Changzhou EZGO in China does not violate any applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect; and

 

  the contractual arrangements among Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and the VIE’s shareholders governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with their terms and applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect and do not and will not violate any applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

 

However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules, and the VIE Agreements have not been tested in a court of law. Accordingly, we may incur substantial costs to enforce the terms of the VIE Agreements, and the PRC regulatory authorities may in the future take a view that is contrary to or otherwise different from the above opinion of our PRC legal counsel.

 

8

 

 

VIE Financial Information

 

Set forth below is selected Consolidated Statements of Operations and cash flows for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, and selected balance sheet information as of September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022 showing financial information for parent company EZGO Technologies Ltd., non-VIE subsidiaries, the WFOE, the VIE and VIE’s subsidiaries, eliminating entries and consolidated information (dollars in thousands). In the tables below, the column headings correspond to the following entities in the organizational diagram on page 6. See also VIE and consolidated financial information in Note 1 of our financial statements.

 

  “parent” refers to EZGO Technologies Ltd., a BVI business company;

 

  “non-VIE subsidiaries” refer to the sum of (i) China EZGO Group Ltd., our wholly owned Hong Kong subsidiary, (ii) Changzhou Langyi Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., a wholly owned PRC subsidiary, (iii) Jiangsu Langyi Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd., (iv) Jiangsu EZGO Energy Supply Chain Technology Co., Ltd., (v) Jiangsu EZGO New Energy Technologies Co., Ltd., (vi) Sichuan EZGO Energy Technologies Co., Ltd., (vii) Tianjin EZGO Electric Technologies Co., Ltd., and (viii) Changzhou Youdi Electric Bicycle Co., Ltd.;

 

  “WFOE” refers to Changzhou EZGO Enterprise Management Co., Ltd., our wholly owned PRC subsidiary;

 

  “VIE and its subsidiaries” refer to the sum of (i) Jiangsu EZGO Electronic Technologies, Co., Ltd., (ii) Changzhou Hengmao Power Battery Technology Co., Ltd., (iii) Changzhou Yizhiying IoT Technologies Co., Ltd., and (iv) Jiangsu Cenbird E-Motorcycle Technologies Co., Ltd., (v) Tianjin Jiahao Bicycle Co., Ltd., which became one of the subsidiaries of VIE in June 2021, (vi) Tianjin Dilang Technologies Co., Ltd., and (vii) Tianjin Dilang Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd., which was established in June 2021; and

 

  “VIE” refers to Jiangsu EZGO Electronic Technologies, Co., Ltd.

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations Information

 

   Fiscal year ended September 30, 2022 
   Parent   Non-VIE Subsidiaries   WFOE   VIE and its subsidiaries   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Revenue   $    $176,027    4,407,284   $12,805,906   $    $17,389,217 
Cost of revenue        (170,454)   (4,042,002)   (12,957,722)   -    (17,170,178)
Gross profit        5,573    365,282    (151,816)   -    219,039 
Operating expenses   (1,449,339)   (14,993)   (1,095,508)   (4,121,806)   -    (6,681,646)
Loss from operations   (1,449,339)   (9,420)   (730,226)   (4,273,622)   -    (6,462,607)
Share of loss from subsidiaries   (157,105)   (149,440)   -    -    306,545    - 
Other income (expense), net   327    (265)   533,977    (931,538)   -    (397,499)
Loss before income tax expenses (benefit)   (1,606,117)   (159,124)   (196,249)   (5,205,160)   306,545    (6,860,106)
Net loss   (1,606,117)   (157,105)   (149,440)   (5,862,713)   306,545    (7,468,830)
Less: net loss attributable to non-controlling interests   -    -    -    (1,005,032)   -    (1,005,032)
Net loss attributable to EZGO’s shareholders   (1,606,117)   (157,105)   (149,440)   (4,857,681)   306,545    (6,463,798)

  

   Fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Revenue  $-   $-    3,793,146   $19,628,860   $-   $23,422,006 
Cost of revenue   -    -    (3,604,878)   (19,434,650)   -    (23,039,528)
Gross profit   -    -    188,268    194,210    -    382,478 
Operating expenses   (495,835)   (1,964)   (70,278)   (3,691,820)   -    (4,259,897)
(Loss) income from operations   (495,835)   (1,964)   117,990    (3,497,610)   -    (3,877,419)
Share of loss from subsidiaries   (203,744)   (205,707)   -    -    409,451    - 
Other income (expense), net   279    -    156,368    (75,873)   -    80,774 
Loss before income tax expenses (benefit)   (699,300)   (207,671)   274,358    (3,573,483)   409,451    (3,796,645)
Net loss   (699,300)   (203,744)   (205,707)   (2,714,344    409,451    (3,413,644)
Less: net loss attributable to non-controlling interests   -    -    -    (434,971)   -    (434,971)
Net loss attributable to EZGO’s shareholders   (699,300)   (203,744)   (205,707)   (2,279,373)   409,451    (2,978,673)

 

9

 

 

   Fiscal year ended September 30, 2020 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Third-party revenues  $-   $-    -   $15,243,282   $-   $15,243,282 
Inter-company consulting and services revenues   -    -    116,190    -    (116,190)   - 
Third-party costs of Revenue   -    -    -    (13,704,248)   -    (13,704,248)
Inter-company consulting and services costs   -    -    -    (116,190)   116,190    - 
Gross profit   -    -    116,190    1,422,844    -    1,539,034 
Operating expenses   -    -    -    (1,467,068)   -    (1,467,068)
Income from operations   -    -    116,190    (44,224)   -    71,966 
Share of income from subsidiaries   116,190    116,190    -    -    (232,380)   - 
Other income, net   -    -    -    378,395    -    378,395 
Income before income tax expenses   116,190    116,190    116,190    334,171    (232,380)   450,361 
Net income   116,190    116,190    116,190    160,732    (232,380)   276,922 
Less: net income attributable to non-controlling interests   -    -    -    129,748    -    129,748 
Net income attributable to EZGO’s shareholders   116,190    116,190    116,190    30,984    (232,380)   147,174 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets Information

 

   As of September 30, 2022 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Amounts due from subsidiary of EZGO  $16,161,400   $-   $-   $-   $(16,161,400)  $- 
Prepaid on behalf of VIE   3,014,680    -    -    -    (3,014,680)   - 
Amount due from VIE and its subsidiaries   -    -    12,370,844    -    (12,370,844)   - 
Service fee receivable from VIE   -    -    116,190    -    (116,190)   - 
Amount due from non-VIE subsidiaries   -    -    5,971,687    704    (5,972,391)   - 
Loan from WFOE   8,000,000    -         7,589,951    (15,589,951)   - 
Amount due from EZGO   -    -    -    417,138    (417,138)   - 
Current assets   27,278,299    5,789,274    30,210,861    17,434,133    (47,558,531)   33,154,036 
Amount due to VIE and its subsidiaries   (417,138)   (704)   (7,589,951)   -    8,007,794    - 
Amount due to WFOE   -    (5,971,687)   -    (12,370,844)   18,342,531    - 
Service fee payable to WFOE   -    -    -    (116,190)   116,190    - 
Amount due to EZGO   -    (16,161,400)   (8,000,000)   (3,014,680)   27,176,080    - 
Working capital   26,773,478    (16,904,159)   14,651,312    (5,334,798)   -    19,185,833 
Investment in non-VIE subsidiaries   -    15,604,043    -    -    (15,604,043)   - 
Assets   27,278,299    21,803,156    27,446,730    31,327,603    (93,502,243)   14,353,546 

 

   As of September 30, 2021 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Amounts due from subsidiary of EZGO  $15,853,200   $-    -   $-   $(15,853,200)  $- 
Prepaid on behalf of VIE   3,017,337    -    -    -    (3,017,337)   - 
Amount due from VIE   -    -    13,323,711         (13,323,711)   - 
Service fee receivable from VIE   -    -    116,190    -    (116,190)   - 
Amount due from Non-VIE   -    -         1,914,828    (1,914,828)   - 
Amount due from EZGO   -    -         316,524    (316,524)   - 
Current assets   20,145,974    7,831    18,187,550    23,880,044    (34,541,789)   27,679,610 
Amount due to VIE   (316,524)   -    (1,914,828)   -    2,231,352    - 
Amount due to non-VIE   -    -         (13,323,711)   13,323,711    - 
Service fee payable to WFOE   -    -    -    (116,190)   116,190    - 
Amount due to EZGO   -    (15,853,200)        (3,017,337)   18,870,537    - 
Working capital   19,781,865    (15,844,963)   16,188,763    (1,921,225)   -    18,204,440 
Investment in non-VIE subsidiaries   -    15,753,483         -    (15,753,483)   - 
Assets   20,145,974    15,761,314    18,187,547    38,212,105    (50,295,270)   42,011,670 

 

10

 

   As of September 30, 2020 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Service fee receivable from VIE   -    -    116,190    -    (116,190)   - 
Current assets   -    -         16,316,861    -    16,316,861 
Service fee payable to WFOE   -    -    -    (116,190)   116,190    - 
Working capital   -    -    116,190    9,528,018    -    9,644,208 
Investment in non-VIE subsidiaries   116,190    116,190         -    (232,380)   - 
Assets   116,190    116,190    116,190    19,817,798    (348,570)   19,817,798 

 

Consolidated Cash Flows Information

 

   Fiscal year ended September 30, 2022 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Total cash used in operating activities  $132,326   $(3,456)   (11,973,551)  $1,489,651   $-   $(10,355,030)
Loan to non-VIE subsidiaries   (308,200)   -         -    308,200    - 
Loan to VIE and its subsidiaries   -    -    (335,714)   -    335,714    - 
Amounts due from non-VIE subsidiaries   -    -    (1,546)   (722)   2,268    - 
Loan to Changzhou EZGO   (8,000,000)   -    -    (5,675,124)   13,675,124    - 
Invest in subsidiary   -    (313,000)   -    -    313,000    - 
Others(1)   -    -    -    (4,481,075)   -    (4,481,075)
Total cash used in investing activities   (8,308,200)   (313,000)   (337,260)   (10,156,921)   14,634,306    (4,481,075)
Loans from EZGO   -    308,200    8,000,000    -    (8,308,200)   - 
Loans from Changzhou EZGO   -    -    -    335,714    (337,260)   - 
Amount due to Changzhou EZGO        1,546                     
Amounts due to VIE and its subsidiaries   -    722    5,675,124    -    (5,675,846)   - 
Contribution from shareholder   8,000,000    -    313,000    -    (313,000)   8,000,000 
Others(2)   -    -    -    6,243,210    -    6,243,210 
Total cash provided by financing activities   8,000,000    310,468    13,988,124    6,578,924    (14,634,306)   14,243,210 
Effect of exchange rate changes   2,657    -    1,280,821    (2,167,250)   -    (883,772)
Net increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash   (173,217)   (5,988)   2,958,134    (4,255,596)   -    (1,476,667)

 

   Fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Total cash used in operating activities  $(801,208)  $(1,963)   (4,351,605)  $(1,101,659)  $-   $(6,256,435)
Payment for acquisition of Tianjin Jiahao on behalf of VIE   (3,017,337)   -         -    3,017,337    - 
Loan to subsidiary of EZGO   (15,853,200)   -         -    15,853,200    - 
Loan to VIE   -    -    (13,323,711)   -    13,323,711    - 
Invest in subsidiary        (15,843,000)             15,843,000      
Amount due from Changzhou EZGO   -    -         (1,914,828)   1,914,828    - 
Others(1)   -    -         (11,037,254)   -    (11,037,254)
Total cash used in investing activities   (18,870,537)   (15,843,000)   (13,323,711)   (12,952,082)   49,952,076    (11,037,254)
Loans from EZGO   -    15,853,200         3,017,337    (18,870,537)   - 
Loans from Changzhou EZGO   -    -         13,323,711    (13,323,711)   - 
Amount due to VIE   -    -    1,914,828    -    (1,914,828)   - 
Contribution from shareholder             15,843,000         (15,843,000)     
Proceeds from issuance of ordinary shares in connection with IPO, net of issuance cost   20,947,182    -         -    -    20,947,182 
Others(2)   -    -         1,816,894    -    1,816,894 
Total cash provided by financing activities   20,947,182    15,853,200    17,757,828    18,157,942    (49,952,076)   22,764,076 
Effect of exchange rate changes   -    -         78,968    -    78,968 
Net increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash   1,275,437    8,237    82,512    4,183,169    -    5,549,355 

  

(1) Other cash flows from investing activities mainly include the purchase of property, plants and equipment and land use right, and the purchase of short-term investments.
   
(2) Other cash flows from financing activities mainly include the collection of loan to shareholder and proceeds from short-term borrowings.

11

 

 

   Fiscal year ended September 30, 2020 
   Parent   Non-VIE
Subsidiaries
   WFOE   VIE and its
subsidiaries
   Eliminations   Consolidated 
                         
Total cash provided by operating activities  $               -   $                -           -   $4,024,769   $              -   $4,024,769 
Total cash used in investing activities   -    -    -    (3,349,847)   -    (3,349,847)
Total cash used in financing activities   -    -    -    (4,004,361)   -    (4,004,361)
Effect of exchange rate changes   -    -    -    36,324    -    36,324 
Net decrease in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash   -    -    -    (3,293,115)   -    (3,293,115)

 

Transfer of Cash through our Organization

 

EZGO can transfer cash to its subsidiaries through capital contributions and/or intercompany loans, and EZGO’s subsidiaries can transfer cash to EZGO through dividends or other distributions and/or intercompany loans. Additionally, EZGO’s subsidiaries can transfer cash to the VIE through loans, and the VIE can transfer cash to EZGO as service fees under the VIE Agreements and/or through loans. We intend to settle amounts owed under the VIE Agreements.

 

Prior to the completion of our initial public offering in January 2021, the sources of funds of the VIE and its subsidiaries primarily consisted of shareholders capital injection and cash generated from operations.

 

After the completion of our initial public offering, our holding company, EZGO, transferred funds through a shareholder loan to EZGO HK. EZGO HK transferred funds through an increase in the registered capital to Changzhou EZGO. EZGO and Changzhou EZGO provided loans to the VIE, subject to statutory limits and restrictions.

 

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, EZGO provided an interest-free loan of US$15,853,200 to EZGO HK; EZGO also paid US$3,017,337 on behalf of the VIE for the acquisition of Tianjin Jiahao and insurance fees; and EZGO HK injected registered capital of US$15,843,000 into Changzhou EZGO. Changzhou EZGO provided loans of US$13,323,711 to the VIE and had US$1,914,828 of payables due to the VIE.

 

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, EZGO provided an additional interest-free loan of US$308,200 to EZGO HK and provided an interest-free loan of US$8,000,000 to Changzhou EZGO; and EZGO HK injected registered capital of US$313,000 into Changzhou EZGO. Changzhou EZGO provided loans of US$335,714 to the VIE and had US$7,589,951 of payables due to the VIE and its subsidiaries.

 

The details of loans provided by Changzhou EZGO are shown below:

 

Start Date  Maturity Date  Amount   Annual Interest Rate 
April 6, 2021  April 5, 2026  $3,514,444    5%
June 9, 2021  June 8, 2026  $2,108,667    5%
September 17, 2021  September 16, 2024  $562,311    4%
September 29, 2021  September 28, 2024  $2,361,707    4%
October 13, 2021  October 13, 2026   3,514,444    Chinese Loan Prime Rate (LPR)+0.25% 
December 21, 2021  December 21, 2024   309,271    4%
Total     $12,370,844      

 

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Foresaid transactions including capital injection and loans, would be eliminated upon consolidation. 

 

We maintain bank accounts in China, including cash in Renminbi in the amount of RMB31,208,525 and cash in USD in the amount of US$7,187 as of September 30, 2022. Funds are transferred between EZGO, its subsidiaries, and the VIE for their daily operation purposes. The transfer of funds between our PRC subsidiaries and the VIE are subject to the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Private Lending Cases (2020 Revision, the “Provisions on Private Lending Cases”), which was implemented on August 20, 2020 to regulate the financing activities between natural persons, legal persons and unincorporated organizations. The Provisions on Private Lending Cases set forth that private lending contracts will be upheld as invalid under the circumstance that (i) the lender swindles loans from financial institutions for relending; (ii) the lender relends the funds obtained by means of a loan from another profit-making legal person, raising funds from its employees, illegally taking deposits from the public; (iii) the lender who has not obtained the lending qualification according to the law lends money to any unspecified object of the society for the purpose of making profits; (iv) the lender lends funds to a borrower when the lender knows or should have known that the borrower intended to use the borrowed funds for illegal or criminal purposes; (v) the lending is in violation of public orders or good morals; or (vi) the lending is in violation of mandatory provisions of laws or administrative regulations. Due to the circumstances aforementioned do not exist in the PRC subsidiaries’ operations, our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, is of the view that the Provisions on Private Lending Cases does not prohibit using cash generated from one subsidiary to fund another subsidiary’s operations. We have not been notified of any other restriction which could limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to transfer cash between subsidiaries. As of the date of this annual report, we have not installed any cash management policies that dictate how funds are transferred between us, our subsidiaries, and the VIE. 

 

There is no assurance that the PRC government will not intervene or impose restrictions on the ability of us, our subsidiaries and the VIE to transfer cash. Most of our cash is in Renminbi, and the PRC government could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, could restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends. For details regarding the restrictions on our ability to transfer cash between us, our subsidiaries and the VIE, see “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The PRC government could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends to U.S. investors, which could materially adversely affect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.” on page 28. We currently do not have cash management policies that dictate how funds are transferred between us, our subsidiaries, and the VIE.

 

Dividends and Other Distributions

 

EZGO is a holding company incorporated in the BVI with no material operations of its own and does not generate any revenue. It currently conducts its business in China through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries, with substantially all of its operations and assets in China. We are permitted under PRC laws and regulations to provide funding to our wholly foreign-owned enterprise, the WFOE, only through loans or capital contributions, and to the VIE only through loans, and only if we satisfy the applicable government registration and approval requirements. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China - PRC regulation on loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control in currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds from our initial public offering or follow-on offering to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand EZGO’s business” on page 27.

 

Under our current corporate structure, we rely on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders or to service any debt we may incur. Our subsidiaries and VIE in the PRC generate and retain cash generated from operating activities and re-invest it in their business, respectively. If any of our PRC subsidiaries incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing such debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us.

 

Our PRC subsidiaries are permitted to pay dividends only out of their retained earnings. However, each of our PRC subsidiaries is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, after making up for previous year’s accumulated losses, if any, to fund certain statutory reserves, until the aggregate amount of such funds reaches 50% of its registered capital. This portion of our PRC subsidiaries’ respective net assets are prohibited from being distributed to their shareholders as dividends. However, neither any of our subsidiaries nor the VIE has paid any dividends or made any other distributions to our holding company or any U.S. investors as of the date of this annual report. See also “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China - Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to restrictions on paying dividends or making other payments to us, which may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make remittance to pay dividends to us could limit our ability to access cash generated by the operations of those entities” on page 30.

 

13

 

 

Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, currently EZGO’s PRC subsidiaries may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” including payment of dividends to EZGO without the approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant PRC governmental authorities may limit or eliminate EZGO’s ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions. Since a significant amount of EZGO;s PRC revenue is denominated in Renminbi, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit its ability to utilize revenue generated in Renminbi to fund EZGO’s business activities outside of the PRC, make investments, service any debt EZGO may incur outside of China or pay dividends or make distributions in foreign currencies to EZGO’s shareholders, including holders of EZGO’s ordinary shares. In addition, any transfer of funds by EZGO to its PRC subsidiaries, either as a shareholder loan or as an increase in the registered capital, is subject to a series of procedural requirements imposed by SAFE, SAMR, MOFCOM, or their local counterparts. This may hinder or delay EZGO’s deployment of cash into its subsidiaries’ and the VIE’s business, which could result in a material and adverse effect on EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. See risks disclosed under “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors— Risks Related to Doing Business in China – Restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize our PRC revenue effectively.” on page 25, “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China – PRC regulations relating to foreign exchange registration of overseas investment by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.” on pages 26, and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China – The PRC government could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends to U.S. investors, which could materially adversely affect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.” on page 28.

 

As of September 30, 2022, none of our subsidiaries have ever paid any dividends or made any other distributions to us or their respective holding companies nor have we or any of our subsidiaries ever paid dividends or made any other distributions to U.S. investors. EZGO intends to retain most, if not all, of its available funds and any future earnings and cash proceeds from overseas financing activities to fund the development and growth of its business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

 

In addition, the PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China - Restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize our PRC revenue effectively” on page 25.

 

A 10% PRC withholding tax is applicable to dividends payable to investors that are non-resident enterprises. Any gain realized on the transfer of ordinary shares by such investors is also subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 10% which in the case of dividends will be withheld at source if such gain is regarded as income derived from sources within the PRC. See also “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China- There are significant uncertainties under the PRC EIT Law relating to the withholding tax liabilities of our PRC subsidiaries, and dividends payable by our PRC subsidiaries to our offshore subsidiaries may not qualify to enjoy certain treaty benefits” on page 29.

 

Recent Regulatory Developments in China 

 

Recently, the PRC government initiated a series of regulatory actions and made a number of public statements on the regulation of business operations in China with little advance notice, including cracking down on illegal activities in the securities market, enhancing supervision over China-based companies listed overseas, adopting new measures to extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews, and expanding efforts in anti-monopoly enforcement.

 

Among other things, the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors (the “M&A Rules”) and Anti-Monopoly Law of the People’s Republic of China promulgated by the SCNPC which became effective in 2008 (“Anti-Monopoly Law”), established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex. Such regulation requires, among other things, that the SAMR be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor acquires control of a PRC domestic enterprise or a foreign company with substantial PRC operations, if certain thresholds under the Provisions of the State Council on the Standard for Declaration of Concentration of Business Operators, issued by the State Council in 2008, are triggered. Moreover, the Anti-Monopoly Law requires that transactions which involve the national security, the examination on the national security shall also be conducted according to the relevant provisions of the State. In addition, the PRC Measures for the Security Review of Foreign Investment which became effective in January 2021 require acquisitions by foreign investors of PRC companies engaged in military-related or certain other industries that are crucial to national security be subject to security review before consummation of any such acquisition.

 

14

 

 

On July 6, 2021, the relevant PRC government authorities made public the “Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law” or the “Opinions.” The Opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies. As the Opinions are recently issued, official guidance and related implementation rules have not been issued yet and the interpretation of the Opinions remains unclear at this stage. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Doing Business in China — The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China” on page 31.

 

In addition, on December 28, 2021, the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (2021 version) was promulgated and became effective on February 15, 2022, which iterates that any “online platform operators” controlling personal information of more than one million users which seeks to list on a foreign stock exchange should also be subject to cybersecurity review. The Measures for Cybersecurity Review (2021 version), further elaborates the factors to be considered when assessing the national security risks of the relevant activities, including, among others, (i) the risk of core data, important data or a large amount of personal information being stolen, leaked, destroyed, and illegally used or exited the country; and (ii) the risk of critical information infrastructure, core data, important data or a large amount of personal information being affected, controlled, or maliciously used by foreign governments after listing abroad. Our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, is of the view as a result of: (i) EZGO is listed on the Nasdaq and does not “seek to list on any other foreign stock exchange”; (ii) EZGO does not hold personal information on more than one million users in its business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries; and (iii) data processed in EZGO’s business does not have a bearing on national security and thus may not be classified as core or important data by the authorities, EZGO is not required to apply for a cybersecurity review under the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (2021 version).

 

On December 24, 2021, the CSRC released the Administrative Provisions of the State Council Regarding the Overseas Issuance and Listing of Securities by Domestic Enterprises (Draft for Comments) (the “Draft Administrative Provisions”) and the Measures for the Overseas Issuance of Securities and Listing Record-Filings by Domestic Enterprises (Draft for Comments) (the “Draft Filing Measures,” collectively with the Draft Administrative Provisions, the “Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing”), both of which have a comment period that expired on January 23, 2022. The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing lay out the filing regulation arrangement for both direct and indirect overseas listing, and clarify the determination criteria for indirect overseas listing in overseas markets. Among other things, if an overseas listed issuer intends to implement any follow-on offering in an overseas market, it should, through its major operating entity incorporated in the PRC, submit filing materials to the CSRC within three working days after the completion of the offering. The required filing materials shall include but not be limited to: (1) filing report and relevant commitments; and (2) domestic legal opinions.

 

The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing, if enacted, may subject us to additional compliance requirements in the future, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to get the clearance of filing procedures under the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas List on a timely basis, or at all. For instance, if we complete any offering after the enactment of the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing, we may be required to submit additional filings. While the final version of the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listings are expected to be adopted in 2023, we believe that none of the situations that would clearly prohibit overseas offering and listing applies to us. In reaching this conclusion, we have relied on the advice of our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, provided that there is uncertainty inherent in relying on an opinion of counsel in connection with whether we are required to obtain permission from the Chinese government that is required to approve of EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and/or any offerings. Any failure of EZGO to fully comply with new regulatory requirements may significantly limit or completely hinder its ability to continue to offer its securities to investors, cause significant disruption to its business operations, and severely damage its reputation, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause its securities to significantly decline in value or become worthless.

 

15

 

 

According to the Notice by the General Office of the State Council of Comprehensively Implementing the List-based Management of Administrative Licensing Items (No. 2 [2022] of the General Office of the State Council) and its attachment, the List of Administrative Licensing Items Set by Laws, Administrative Regulations, and Decisions of the State Council (2022 Edition), as of the date of this annual report, we, our PRC subsidiaries, the VIE, and its subsidiaries have received from PRC authorities all requisite licenses, permissions or approvals needed to engage in the businesses currently conducted in China, and no permission or approval has been denied. Such licenses and permissions include, but not be limited to, business registration, pollutant discharge permit, construction planning permit, fire protection design review of construction project, and fire protection acceptance of construction project. The following table provides details on the licenses and permissions held by our PRC subsidiaries: 

 

Company  License/Permission  Issuing Authority  Validity
EZGO HK  Business Registration Certificate  Registrar of Companies Hong Kong Special Administrative Region  February 13, 2022 -
February 12, 2023
Changzhou EZGO  Business License  Market Supervision Administrative Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  June 12, 2019 -
Long-term
Jiansu EZGO Energy Supply Chain Technologies Co., Ltd.  Business License  Administrative Examination and Approval Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  December 10, 2021 -
Long-term
Jiangsu EZGO Electronic Technologies, Co., Ltd.  Business License  Administrative Examination and Approval Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  July 30, 2019 -
Long-term
Hengmao Power Battery  Business License  Administrative Examination and Approval Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  May 5, 2014 -
May 4, 2034
Yizhiying IoT  Business License  Administrative Examination and Approval Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  August 21, 2018 -
Long-term
Tianjin Dilang  Business License  Market Supervision Administrative Bureau of Tianjin Wuqing  July 2, 2019 -
July 1, 2049
Tianjin Dilang Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd.  Business License  Market Supervision Administrative Bureau of Tianjin Wuqing  June 18, 2021 -
June 17, 2061
Jiangsu Cenbird  Business License  Economic Development Zone Administrative Committee of Jiangsu Changzhou  May 7, 2018 -
Long-term
Tianjin Jiahao  Business License  Market Supervision Administrative Bureau of Tianjin Wuqing  September 25, 2007 -
Long-term
Tianjin Jiahao  Construction Land Planning Permit  Planning Bureau of Tianjin Wuqing  January 24, 2008 -
Long-term
Tianjin Jiahao  Environmental Protection Permit for Construction  Environmental Protection Bureau of Tianjin Wuqing  January 17, 2008-
Long-term
Tianjin Jiahao  Construction Project Planning Acceptance Certificate  Planning Bureau of Tianjin Wuqing  November 5, 2013 -
Long-term
Changzhou Langyi  Business License  Administrative Examination and Approval Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  August 6, 2021 -
Long-term
Jiangsu Langyi Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd.  Business License  Administrative Examination and Approval Bureau of Changzhou Wujin  December 7, 2021 -
Long-term

 

As of the date of this annual report, as advised by our PRC legal counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, none of our company, our subsidiaries, or the VIE are covered by permissions requirements from the CSRC, the Cyberspace Administration of China (the “CAC”), or any other governmental agency that is required to approve the VIE’s operations, and therefore no such permission or approval has been denied.

 

As of the date of this annual report, no relevant laws or regulations in the PRC explicitly require us, our subsidiaries, or the VIE to seek approval from the CSRC or any other PRC governmental authorities for our overseas listing or securities offering plans, nor has our company, any of our subsidiaries, or the VIE or any of its subsidiaries, received any inquiry, notice, warning or sanctions regarding any securities offering from the CSRC or any other PRC governmental authorities. However, since these statements and regulatory actions by the PRC government are newly published and official guidance and related implementation rules have not been issued, it is highly uncertain what the potential impact such modified or new laws and regulations will have on our daily business operations, or the ability to accept foreign investments and list on a U.S. or other foreign exchange. The SCNPC or other PRC regulatory authorities may in the future promulgate laws, regulations or implementing rules that require our company, the WFOE, the VIE or its subsidiaries to obtain regulatory approval from Chinese authorities before offering securities in the U.S., British Virgin Islands or other rules and regulations that place restrictions on capital raising or other activities by companies with extensive operations in China could adversely affect EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and results of operations. See “Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Doing Business in China- The PRC government exerts substantial influence over the manner in which EZGO conducts its business activities through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. The PRC government may also intervene or influence EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China at any time, which could result in a material change in its operations and its ordinary shares could decline in value or become worthless” on page 21 for a discussion of these legal and operational risks and other information that should be considered before making a decision to purchase EZGO’s securities. In the event that we, our subsidiaries, or the VIE (i) do not receive or maintain any requisite permissions or approvals, (ii) inadvertently conclude that such permissions or approvals are not required, or (iii) applicable laws, regulations, or interpretations change and we are required to obtain such permissions or approvals in the future, we, our subsidiaries, and the VIE may be subject to sanctions imposed by the relevant PRC regulatory authority, including fines and penalties, revocation of the licenses of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries, and suspension of these entities’ business, restrictions or limitations on our ability to pay dividends outside of China, regulatory orders, including injunctions requiring the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries to cease collecting or processing data, litigation or adverse publicity, the delisting of EZGO’s securities on Nasdaq, and other forms of sanctions, which may materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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3.A. [Reserved]

 

3.B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not Applicable.

 

3.C. Reasons For The Offer And Use Of Proceeds

 

Not Applicable.

 

3.D. Risk Factors

 

Investing in EZGO’s ordinary shares is highly speculative and involves a significant degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risks as well as all other information contained in this annual report, including the matters discussed under the headings “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” before you decide to make an investment in EZGO’s ordinary shares. We are a holding company with substantial operations in China and are subject to a legal and regulatory environment that in many respects differs from the United States. The risks discussed below could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, ability to pay dividends and the trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and ability to pay dividends, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

 

Such risks are not exhaustive. We may face additional risks that are presently unknown to us or that we believe to be immaterial as of the date of this annual report. Known and unknown risks and uncertainties may significantly impact and impair EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.

 

RISK FACTORS SUMMARY

 

EZGO’s business is subject to numerous risks described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report. The main risks set forth below and others you should consider are discussed more fully in the section entitled “Risk Factors”, which you should read in its entirety.

 

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

 

We are subject to risks and uncertainties relating to doing business in China in general, including, but are not limited to, the following:

 

  Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.
     
  We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties, and changes in PRC regulation of internet retailers.
     
  Changes in China’s economic, political, or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on EZGO’s business and operations. The enforcement of laws and rules and regulations in China may change quickly with little advance notice, which could result in a material adverse change in EZGO’s operations and the value of EZGO’s ordinary shares.
     
  The Chinese government may intervene or influence EZGO’s operations at any time, or may exert more control over offerings conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers, which could result in a material change in EZGO’s operations and/or the value of the securities EZGO has registered for sale. Any actions by the Chinese government to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers could significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to offer or continue to offer its securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or become worthless.
     
  Restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize our PRC revenue effectively. In addition, our PRC subsidiaries are subject to restrictions on paying dividends or making other payments to us, which may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make remittance to pay dividends to us could limit our ability to access cash generated by the operations of those entities.
     
  PRC regulations relating to foreign exchange registration of overseas investment by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

 

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  PRC regulation on loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control in currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our initial public offering or follow-on offering to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand EZGO’s business.

 

  Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to restrictions on paying dividends or making other payments to us, which may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make remittance to pay dividends to us could limit our ability to access cash generated by the operations of those entities.
     
  The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing lay out the filing regulation arrangement for both direct and indirect overseas listing, and clarify the determination criteria for indirect overseas listing in overseas markets. Among other things, if a domestic enterprise intends to indirectly offer and list securities in an overseas market, the record-filing obligation is with a major operating entity incorporated in the PRC and such filing obligation shall be completed within three working days after the overseas listing application is submitted. The required filing materials for an initial public offering and listing shall include but not limited to: regulatory opinions, record-filing, approval and other documents issued by competent regulatory authorities of relevant industries (if applicable); and security assessment opinion issued by relevant regulatory authorities (if applicable). The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing, if enacted, may subject us to additional compliance requirements in the future. Any failure of us to fully comply with new regulatory requirements may significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to offer or continue to offer its ordinary shares, cause significant disruption to its business operations, and severely damage its reputation, which would materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause EZGO’s ordinary shares to significantly decline in value or become worthless.
     
  Substantially all of EZGO’s current operations are conducted in the PRC through the VIE and its subsidiaries, and substantially all of its assets are located in the PRC. A majority of EZGO’s current directors and officers are nationals and residents of the PRC and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for a shareholder to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons, or to enforce against us or them judgments obtained in United States courts, including judgments predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States.
     
  EZGO’s ordinary shares may be delisted or prohibited from trading under the HFCA Act if the PCAOB is unable to inspect our auditors. The delisting of EZGO’s ordinary shares, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of EZGO’s ordinary shares. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct adequate inspection deprives our shareholders with the benefits of such inspections. Furthermore, on June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which, if enacted, would amend the HFCA Act and require the SEC to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on any U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections for two consecutive years instead of three, and thus EZGO’s ordinary shares could be prohibited from trading and delisted after two years instead of three.

 

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

Risks and uncertainties related to EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, and industry include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

  We may incur losses in the future.
     
  We are an early stage company of e-bicycle products and charging piles with a limited operating history. Our limited operating history in the industry may not provide an adequate basis to judge our future prospects and results of operations for this segment, and may increase the risk of your investment.
     
  If we fail to develop and introduce new models of e-bicycle products in anticipation of market demand in a timely and cost-effective manner, our competitive position and ability to generate revenues may be materially and adversely affected.
     
  If we fail to adopt new technologies or adapt our e-bicycles to changing customer requirements or the industry standards, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
     
  If we are unable to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
     
  Our marketing strategy of appealing to and growing sales to a more diversified group of users may not be successful.
     
  We face intense competition in the charging pile market, and if we fail to compete effectively, we may lose market share and customers.
     
  Our products and services may experience quality problems from time to time, which could result in decreased sales, adversely affect our results of operations and harm our reputation.
     
  We may be subject to product liability claims if people or properties are harmed by our products and we may be compelled to undertake product recalls or take other actions, which could adversely affect our brand image and results of operations.
     
  Our products are subject to safety and other standards and failure to satisfy such mandated standards would have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results.

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

 

Risks and uncertainties relating to our corporate structure include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

  Our current corporate structure and business operations may be affected by the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law which does not explicitly classify whether a variable interest entity that is controlled through contractual arrangements would be deemed as foreign-invested enterprises if it is ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors.
     
  We rely on contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders to operate our business, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control and otherwise have a material adverse effect as to our business.
     
  Any failure by the VIE or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business.
     
  The shareholders of the VIE may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

  If the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to the VIE do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries or other PRC regulations, or if these regulations change or are interpreted differently in the future, the securities EZGO has registered may decline in value or become worthless if the determinations, changes, or interpretations result in EZGO’s inability to assert contractual rights over the assets of its PRC subsidiaries or the VIE that conducts a substantial part of EZGO’s operations.
     
  Contractual arrangements in relation to the VIE may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that the VIE owes additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.
     
  We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by the VIE that are material to the operation of our business if the entity goes bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.
     
  If the custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets, our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Risks Related to EZGO’s Ordinary Shares

 

In addition to the risks and uncertainties described above, we are subject to risks relating to EZGO’s ordinary shares, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

  An active trading market for EZGO’s ordinary shares may not continue and the trading price for EZGO’s ordinary shares may fluctuate significantly.

 

  The trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

  

  We may not be able to maintain our listing on Nasdaq which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in EZGO’s securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.

   

  Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of EZGO’s ordinary shares for return on your investment.

 

  Restrictive covenants related to our previous registered direct offering may restrict our ability to obtain future financing.

 

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

 

Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.

 

Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to various PRC laws and regulations generally applicable to companies in China. The PRC legal system is based on written statutes. Unlike common law systems, it is a system in which legal cases have limited value as precedents. In the late 1970s, the PRC government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past four decades has significantly increased the protections afforded to various forms of foreign or private-sector investment in China.

 

19

 

 

As relevant laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involve uncertainties.

 

From time to time, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce our legal rights. However, since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules (some of which are not published in a timely manner or at all) that may have retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including uncertainty over the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, and any failure to respond to changes in the regulatory environment in China could materially and adversely affect EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and impede its ability to continue its operations.

 

Recently, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the “Opinions on Severely Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities According to Law,” or the Opinions, which was made available to the public on July 6, 2021. The Opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities, and the need to strengthen the supervision over overseas listings by Chinese companies. Effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems will be taken to deal with the risks and incidents of China-concept overseas listed companies, and cybersecurity and data privacy protection requirements and similar matters. The Opinions remain unclear on how the law will be interpreted, amended, and implemented by the relevant PRC governmental authorities, but the Opinions and any related implementing rules to be enacted may subject us to compliance requirements in the future.

 

On December 28, 2021, the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (2021 version) was promulgated and will become effective on February 15, 2022, which iterates that any “online platform operators” controlling personal information of more than one million users which seeks to list in a foreign stock exchange should also be subject to cybersecurity review. We do not believe EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China would be considered an “operator of critical information infrastructure” or “data processor” as mentioned above, however, the revised draft of the Measures for Cybersecurity Review is in the process of being formulated and the Opinions remain unclear on how it will be interpreted, amended, and implemented by the relevant PRC governmental authorities. Thus, it is still uncertain how PRC governmental authorities will regulate overseas listing in general and whether we are required to obtain any specific regulatory approvals. Furthermore, if the CSRC or other regulatory agencies later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that EZGO obtains their approvals for any follow-on offering, EZGO may be unable to obtain such approvals which could significantly limit or completely hinder its ability to offer or continue to offer its securities to its investors.

 

On December 24, 2021, the CSRC released the Administrative Provisions of the State Council Regarding the Overseas Issuance and Listing of Securities by Domestic Enterprises (Draft for Comments) and the Measures for the Overseas Issuance of Securities and Listing Record-Filings by Domestic Enterprises (Draft for Comments), both of which have a comment period that expired on January 23, 2022, and if enacted, may subject us to additional compliance requirements in the future. See “– The CSRC has released for public consultation the draft rules for China-based companies seeking to conduct initial public offerings in foreign markets. While such rules have not yet gone into effect, the Chinese government may exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and foreign investment in China-based issuers, which could significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to offer or continue to offer its securities to investors and could cause the value of its ordinary shares to significantly decline or become worthless.”

 

Furthermore, the PRC government authorities may strengthen oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers like us. Such actions taken by the PRC government authorities may intervene or influence EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China at any time, which are beyond its control. Therefore, any such action may adversely affect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and significantly limit or hinder its ability to offer or continue to offer its securities to investors and reduce the value of such securities.

 

Uncertainties regarding the enforcement of laws and the fact that rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice, along with the risk that the Chinese government may intervene or influence EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China at any time, or may exert more control over offerings conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers could result in a material change in its operations, financial performance and/or the value of EZGO’s ordinary shares or impair its ability to raise money.

 

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The PRC government exerts substantial influence over the manner in which EZGO conducts its business activities through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. The PRC government may also intervene or influence EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China at any time, which could result in a material change in its operations and its ordinary shares could decline in value or become worthless.

 

Based on the advice of our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, that we are currently not required to obtain approval from Chinese authorities for listing on U.S exchanges, nor the execution of the VIE Agreements. However, if the VIE or the holding company were required to obtain approval in the future and were denied permission from Chinese authorities for listing on U.S. or other foreign exchanges, EZGO will not be able to continue listing on a U.S. or other foreign exchange, continue to offer its securities to investors, or materially affect the interest of the investors and cause significantly depreciation of the price of its ordinary shares.

 

The Chinese government has exercised and continues to exercise substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through regulation and state ownership. Our ability to operate in China may be harmed by changes in its laws and regulations, including those relating to taxation, environmental regulations, land use rights, property, and other matters. The central or local governments of these jurisdictions may impose new, stricter regulations or interpretations of existing regulations that would require additional expenditures and efforts on our part to ensure our compliance with such regulations or interpretations. Accordingly, government actions in the future, including any decision not to continue to support recent economic reforms and to return to a more centrally planned economy or regional or local variations in the implementation of economic policies, could have a significant effect on economic conditions in China or particular regions thereof, and could require EZGO to divest ourselves of any interest it then holds in its operations in China. Accordingly, the Chinese government may intervene or influence EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China at any time, which could result in a material change in its operations and/or the value of the securities EZGO has registered.

 

For example, the Chinese cybersecurity regulator announced on July 2, 2021, that it had begun an investigation of Didi Global Inc. (NYSE: DIDI) and two days later ordered that the company’s app be removed from smartphone app stores. Similarly, EZGO’s business segments may be subject to various government and regulatory interference in the regions in which it operates through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. We could be subject to regulation by various political and regulatory entities, including various local and municipal agencies and government sub-divisions. We may incur increased costs necessary to comply with existing and newly adopted laws and regulations or penalties for any failure to comply.

 

Furthermore, it is uncertain when and whether we will be required to obtain permission from the PRC government for listing on U.S. or other foreign exchanges, or enter into VIE Agreements in the future, and even when such permission is obtained, whether it will be denied or rescinded. Although, in the opinion of our PRC legal counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, we are currently not required to obtain permission from any of the PRC central or local government and has not received any denial for listing on the U.S. or other foreign exchange or enter into VIE Agreements, EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China could be adversely affected, directly or indirectly, by existing or future laws and regulations relating to its business or industry. Recent statements by the Chinese government indicating an intent, and the PRC government may take actions to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers, which could significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to offer or continue to offer its securities to investors and cause the value of its securities to significantly decline or become worthless. 

 

The CSRC has released for public consultation the draft rules for China-based companies seeking to conduct initial public offerings in foreign markets. While such rules have not yet gone into effect, the Chinese government may exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and foreign investment in China-based issuers, which could significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to continue to offer its ordinary shares to investors and could cause the value of its securities to significantly decline or become worthless.

 

On December 24, 2021, the CSRC released the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing, which have a comment period that expired on January 23, 2022. The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing lay out the filing regulation arrangement for both direct and indirect overseas listing, and clarify the determination criteria for indirect overseas listing in overseas markets.

 

The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing stipulate that the Chinese-based companies, or the issuer, shall fulfill the filing procedures within three working days after the issuer makes an application for initial public offering and listing in an overseas market. Among other things, if an overseas listed issuer intends to implement any follow-on offering in an overseas market, it should, through its major operating entity incorporated in the PRC, submit filing materials to the CSRC within three working days after the completion of the offering. The required filing materials shall include but not be limited to: (1) filing report and relevant commitments; and (2) domestic legal opinions.

 

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In addition, an overseas offering and listing is prohibited under any of the following circumstances: (1) if the intended securities offering and listing is specifically prohibited by national laws and regulations and relevant provisions; (2) if the intended securities offering and listing may constitute a threat to or endangers national security as reviewed and determined by competent authorities under the State Council in accordance with law; (3) if there are material ownership disputes over the equity, major assets, and core technology, etc. of the issuer; (4) if, in the past three years, the domestic enterprise or its controlling shareholders or actual controllers have committed corruption, bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation of property, or other criminal offenses disruptive to the order of the socialist market economy, or are currently under judicial investigation for suspicion of criminal offenses, or are under investigation for suspicion of major violations; (5) if, in past three years, directors, supervisors, or senior executives have been subject to administrative punishments for severe violations, or are currently under judicial investigation for suspicion of criminal offenses, or are under investigation for suspicion of major violations; (6) other circumstances as prescribed by the State Council. The Draft Administration Provisions defines the legal liabilities of breaches such as failure in fulfilling filing obligations or fraudulent filing conducts, imposing a fine between RMB1 million and RMB10 million, and in cases of severe violations, a parallel order to suspend relevant business or halt operation for rectification, revoke relevant business permits or operational license.

 

The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing, if enacted, may subject us to additional compliance requirements in the future, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to get the clearance of filing procedures under the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas List on a timely basis, or at all. For instance, if we complete any offering under a prospectus after the enactment of the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing, we may be required to submit additional filings. As of the date of this annual report, the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listings have not been promulgated, and we have not been required to complete the record-filings procedure to the government of China for any offering pursuant to this annual report. While the final version of the Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listings are expected to be adopted in 2023, we believe that none of the situations that would clearly prohibit overseas offering and listing applies to us. In reaching this conclusion, based on the advice of our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, that there is uncertainty inherent in relying on an opinion of counsel in connection with whether we are required to obtain permissions from the Chinese government that is required to approve of EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and/or offering. Any failure of EZGO to fully comply with new regulatory requirements may significantly limit or completely hinder EZGO’s ability to continue to offer its securities to investors, cause significant disruption to its business operations, and severely damage its reputation, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause its securities, including the securities EZGO has registered for sale in a prospectus, to significantly decline in value or become worthless.

 

We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties, and changes in PRC regulation of internet retailers.

 

The PRC government extensively regulates the Internet industry, including foreign ownership of, and the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to, companies in the Internet industry. These internet-related laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainties. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations. Issues, risks, and uncertainties relating to PRC government regulation of the Internet industry include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

  The online commerce industry in China is still in an early stage of development and the PRC laws applicable to the industry are still evolving. Due to the lack of clarity under the existing PRC regulatory regime, we may be required to comply with additional legal and licensing requirements. For example, we are providing mobile applications to mobile device users and we are in the process of applying for the valued-added telecommunications business operating license for electronic data interchange business, or the EDI License. It is uncertain if our PRC subsidiaries will be required to obtain a separate valued-added telecommunications business operating license for Internet content provision, or the ICP License in addition to the EDI License. Although we believe that we are not required to obtain such separate license which is in line with the current market practice, there can be no assurance that we will not be required to apply for an operating license for our mobile applications in the future.

 

  The evolving PRC regulatory system for the Internet industry may lead to the establishment of new regulatory agencies. For example, in May 2011, the State Council announced the establishment of a new department, the State Internet Information Office (with the involvement of the State Council Information Office, the MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security). The primary role of this new agency is to facilitate the policy-making and legislative development in this field to direct and coordinate with the relevant departments in connection with online content administration and to deal with cross-ministry regulatory matters in relation to the Internet industry.

 

  New laws and regulations may be promulgated that will regulate internet activities, including online retail. If these new laws and regulations are promulgated, additional licenses may be required for EZGO’s operations. If EZGO’s operations do not comply with these new regulations at the time they become effective, or if EZGO fails to obtain any licenses required under these new laws and regulations, it could be subject to penalties.

 

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The interpretation and application of existing PRC laws, regulations and policies and possible new laws, regulations or policies relating to the internet industry have created substantial uncertainties regarding the legality of existing and future foreign investments in, and the businesses and activities of, internet businesses in China, including EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. We cannot assure you that the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China or will be able to maintain existing licenses or obtain new ones.

 

EZGO’s business, through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, is subject to complex and evolving Chinese laws and regulations regarding data privacy and security. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in claims, penalties, changes to EZGO’s business practices, increased cost of operations, damages to its reputation and brand, or otherwise harm its business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. 

 

In the PRC, governmental authorities have enacted a series of laws and regulations to enhance the protection of data privacy and cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Law of the PRC and relevant regulations require network operators, which may include us, to ensure the security and stability of the services provided via network and protect individual privacy and the security of personal data in general by requiring the consent of internet users prior to the collection, use or disclosure of their personal data. Under the Cybersecurity Law, the owners and administrators of networks and network service providers have various personal information security protection obligations, including restrictions on the collection and use of personal information of users, and they are required to take steps to prevent personal data from being divulged, stolen, or tampered with. Regulatory requirements regarding the protection of personal information are constantly evolving and can be subject to differing interpretations or significant changes, making the extent of our responsibilities in that regard uncertain. An example of such evolving regulatory requirements is the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (2021 version), which was promulgated on December 28, 2021 and took effect on February 15, 2022. The measures, among others, stipulate that any “online platform operators” controlling personal information of more than one million users which seeks to list in a foreign stock exchange should also be subject to cybersecurity review by the CAC. The cybersecurity review, among others, evaluates the potential risks of critical information infrastructure, core data, important data, or a large amount of personal information being influenced, controlled or maliciously used by foreign governments after the overseas listing of an operator. The procurement of network products and services, data processing activities and overseas listing should also be subject to the cybersecurity review if the CAC concerns or they potentially pose risks to national security. Our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, is of the view that EZGO is not subject to the cybersecurity review by the CAC, since (i) the cybersecurity review is not applicable to further equity or debt offerings by companies that have completed their initial public offerings in the United States; (ii) data processed in EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China do not have a bearing on national security and may not be classified as core or important data by the PRC governmental authorities. However, we cannot assure you that the PRC governmental authorities will not hold opposing views or interpretations regarding the applicability of the cybersecurity review to us. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been identified as an “operator of critical information infrastructure” by any PRC governmental authority, nor have we been informed by any PRC governmental authority to undergo a cybersecurity review.

 

In addition, the Data Security Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Data Security Law”) was promulgated by the SCNPC on June 10, 2021 and took effect on September 1, 2021. Further, on July 7, 2022, the CAC released the Measures for the Security Assessment of Cross-Border Data, which will become effective on September 1, 2022. According to the Measures for the Security Assessment of Cross-Border Data, where a data processor provides data abroad under any of the following circumstances, it shall apply for exit security assessment of data to the national cyberspace administration through the local provincial cyberspace administration: (i) the data processor provides important data abroad; (ii) the operators of key information infrastructure and data processors that process the personal information of more than 1 million people provide personal information abroad; (iii) data processors who have provided 100,000 personal information or 10,000 sensitive personal information abroad since January 1 of last year provide personal information abroad; and (iv) other situations required for security assessment as stipulated by the state cyberspace administration. Given the recency of the issuance of the Measures for the Security Assessment of Cross-Border Data and their pending effectiveness, there is a general lack of guidance and substantial uncertainties exist with respect to their interpretation and implementation. On November 14, 2021, the CAC released the Regulations on Cyber Data Security Management (Draft for Comments), or the draft regulations, which shall apply to the processing of personal and organizational data out of the territory of China, under the following circumstances: (i) for the purpose of providing products or services in the PRC; (ii) conducting analysis and evaluation of domestic individuals and organizations; (iii) processing of important domestic data; or (iv) other circumstances provided by laws and administrative regulations. The draft regulations classify data into three categories–general data, important data and core data. Data processors that transfer data collected and generated in the PRC outside of the territory of China are required to prepare a data security assessment report to the local cyberspace administration if (i) the data to be transmitted outside of the territory of China include important data, (ii) critical information technology infrastructure operators and data processors holding over one million users that transfer data outside the territory of China, or (iii) other circumstances that the CAC deems necessary. Meanwhile, a data processor that transfers personal information and important data out of the territory of China shall report to the local cyberspace administration of the following in the past calendar year: (i) the identities and contact information of all data receivers, (ii) the types, quantities and purposes of the transmitted data, (iii) the locations and periods of storage as well as the scope and method of use of the transmitted data, (iv) user complaints and the corresponding treatments related to the transmitted data, (v) violation of data security and the corresponding treatments related to the transmitted data, (vi) the re-transmission of the transmitted data, and (vii) other circumstances that the CAC deems necessary. A maximum of RMB10 million can be imposed on a data processor that is in violation of the draft regulations. It is uncertain whether and when the abovementioned draft measures and regulations will be adopted, and if adopted, whether the final version will contain the same provisions as the draft regulations.

 

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The Data Security Law and the Cybersecurity Law, together with other relevant regulations, are promulgated to jointly regulate China’s online spheres in relation to personal information cybersecurity protection. There remain uncertainties regarding the further interpretation and implementation of those laws and regulations. Despite our efforts to comply with applicable laws, regulations and other obligations relating to privacy, data protection and information security, we cannot assure you that we will be compliant with such new laws, regulations and obligations in all respects, and we may be ordered to rectify and terminate any actions that are deemed non-compliant by the regulatory authorities and become subject to fines and other sanctions. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been involved in any investigations on cybersecurity review made by the CAC on such basis, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanctions in such respect. We believe that that we are compliant with the regulations and policies that have been issued by the CAC to date.

 

In order for us to maintain or achieve compliance with applicable laws as they come into effect, it may require substantial expenditures of resources to continually evaluate our policies and processes and adapt to new requirements that are or become applicable to us. Complying with any additional or new regulatory requirements may impose significant burdens and costs on EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China or require it to alter its business practices. While we strive to protect our users’ privacy and data security and to comply with data protection laws and regulations applicable to us, however, we cannot assure that our existing user information protection system and technical measures will be considered sufficient under all applicable laws and regulations in all respects. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with applicable data privacy laws and regulations, including in relation to the collection of necessary end-user consents and providing end-users with sufficient information with respect to our use of their personal data, may result in fines and penalties imposed by regulators, governmental enforcement actions (including enforcement orders requiring us to cease collecting or processing data in a certain way), litigation and/or adverse publicity. Proceedings against us—regulatory, civil or otherwise—could force us to spend money and devote resources in the defense or settlement of, and remediation related to, such proceedings. EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China could be adversely affected if the existing or future laws and regulations are interpreted or implemented in a manner that is inconsistent with our current business practices or requires changes to these practices.

 

The enforcement of the PRC Labor Contract Law and other labor-related regulations in the PRC may adversely affect EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and its results of operations.

 

The PRC Labor Law and the Labor Contract Law require that employers must execute written employment contracts with full-time employees. All employers must compensate their employees with wages equal to at least the local minimum wage standards. Violations of the PRC Labor Law and the Labor Contract Law may result in the imposition of fines, compensations and other administrative sanctions, and serious violations may constitute criminal offenses.

 

The PRC Labor Contract Law became effective and was implemented on January 1, 2008, which was amended on December 28, 2012. It has reinforced the protection of employees who, under the PRC Labor Contract Law, have the right, among others, to enter into written labor contracts, to enter into labor contracts with no fixed terms under certain circumstances, to receive overtime wages and to terminate or alter terms in labor contracts. According to the PRC Social Insurance Law, which became effective on July 1, 2011, and the Administrative Regulations on the Housing Funds, companies operating in China are required to participate in pension insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance and housing funds plans, and the employers must pay all or a portion of the social insurance premiums and housing funds for their employees.

 

As the interpretation and implementation of these laws and regulations are still evolving, our employment practice may not at all times be deemed in compliance with the new laws and regulations. If we are subject to severe penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigations, EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Failure to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans and withhold individual income tax on employees’ salaries as required by PRC regulations may subject us to penalties.

 

Companies operating in China are required to participate in various government-mandated employee benefit contribution plans, including certain social insurance, housing funds and other welfare-oriented payment obligations, and contribute to the plans in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of EZGO’s employees up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time at locations where EZGO, through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, operates its businesses. The requirement of employee benefit contribution plans has not been implemented consistently by the local governments in China given the different levels of economic development in different locations. Companies operating in China are also required to withhold individual income tax on employees’ salaries based on the actual salary of each employee upon payment. We may be subject to late fees and fines in relation to the underpaid employee benefits and under-withheld individual income tax, EZGO’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected. 

 

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Changes in China’s economic, political, or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on EZGO’s business and operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.

 

Currently substantially all of EZGO’s business operations are conducted in China through the WFOE, the VIE and the VIE’s subsidiaries, and substantially all of EZGO’s sales are made in China. Accordingly, EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic, and social conditions in China generally and by continued economic growth in China as a whole.

 

China’s economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the PRC government has implemented measures since the late 1970’s emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, which are generally viewed as a positive development for foreign business investment, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the PRC government. In addition, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The PRC government also exercises significant control over the PRC economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payments of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

 

While China’s economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy, and the rate of growth has been slowing down. Some of the governmental measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations. Any stimulus measures designed to boost the Chinese economy may contribute to higher inflation, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. For example, certain operating costs and expenses, such as employee compensation and office operating expenses, may increase as a result of higher inflation. In addition, the PRC government has implemented in the past certain measures to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity, which in turn could lead to a reduction in demand for EZGO’s products and services provided through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, and consequently have a material adverse effect on its businesses, financial condition, and results of operations. The purchase price of steel, one of main raw materials for EZGO e-bicycles production, kept stable from October 2021 to September 2022. Although the purchase price of cathode material, one of main raw materials for EZGO lithium battery production, continues rising in 2022, EZGO was able to pass those costs to end consumers by raising the selling price of products. As a result, recent inflationary pressures have not materially impacted EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.

 

Restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize our PRC revenue effectively.

 

All of our revenue is denominated in Renminbi. The Renminbi is currently convertible under the “current account,” which includes dividends, trade, and service-related foreign exchange transactions, but requires approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities or designated banks under the “capital account,” which includes foreign direct investment and loans, such as loans we may secure from our onshore subsidiaries. Currently, our PRC subsidiaries, a foreign invested enterprise, may purchase foreign currency for settlement of “current account transactions,” including payment of dividends to us, without the approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (“SAFE’) by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, the relevant PRC governmental authorities may limit or eliminate our ability to purchase foreign currencies in the future for current account transactions.

 

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Since 2016, PRC governmental authorities have imposed more stringent restrictions on outbound capital flows, including heightened scrutiny over “irrational” overseas investments for certain industries, as well as over four kinds of “abnormal” offshore investments, which are:

 

  investments through enterprises established for only a few months without substantive operation;

 

  investments with amounts far exceeding the registered capital of onshore parent and not supported by its business performance shown on financial statements;

 

  investments in targets that are not related to onshore parent’s main business; and

  

  investments with abnormal sources of Renminbi funding suspected to be involved in illegal transfer of assets or illegal operation of underground banking.

 

On January 26, 2017, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Further Improving Reform of Foreign Exchange Administration and Optimizing Genuineness and Compliance Verification, which tightened the authenticity and compliance verification of cross-border transactions and cross-border capital flow. In addition, the Outbound Investment Sensitive Industry Catalogue (2018) lists certain sensitive industries that are subject to NDRC pre-approval requirements prior to remitting investment funds offshore, which subjects us to increased approval requirements and restrictions with respect to our overseas investment activity. Since a significant amount of our PRC revenue is denominated in Renminbi, any existing and future restrictions on currency exchange or outbound capital flows may limit our ability to utilize revenue generated in Renminbi to fund EZGO’s business activities outside of the PRC, make investments, service any debt we may incur outside of China or pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

PRC regulations relating to foreign exchange registration of overseas investment by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

 

On July 4, 2014, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, which replaced the former Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents to Engage in Financing and Inbound Investment via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles (generally known as SAFE Circular 75) promulgated by SAFE on October 21, 2005. On February 13, 2015, SAFE further promulgated the Circular on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular 13, which took effect on June 1, 2015. This SAFE Circular 13 has amended SAFE Circular 37 by requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests. Qualified local banks will directly examine and accept foreign exchange registration for overseas direct investment, including the initial foreign exchange registration and amendment registration, under SAFE Circular 37 from June 1, 2015.

 

These circulars further require amendment to the registration in the event of any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as an increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC residents, share transfer or exchange, merger, division, or other material events. In the event that a PRC resident holding interests in a special purpose vehicle fails to complete the required SAFE registration, the PRC subsidiary of that special purpose vehicle may be prohibited from making profit distributions to the offshore parent and from carrying out subsequent cross-border foreign exchange activities, and the special purpose vehicle may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital into its PRC subsidiary. Furthermore, it is unclear how this regulation, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border transactions, will be interpreted, amended, and implemented by the relevant PRC government authorities, and we cannot predict how these regulations will affect EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China or future strategy. Failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for evasion of foreign exchange controls. This may have a material adverse effect on EZGO’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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According to SAFE Circular 37 and SAFE Circular 13, our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents are subject to SAFE Circular 37 or other foreign exchange administrative regulations in respect of their investment in our company. To the best of our knowledge, our PRC resident shareholders who directly or indirectly hold shares in our BVI holding company and who are known to us have completed the application for foreign exchange registrations for their foreign investment in our company in accordance with SAFE Circular 37 and SAFE Circular 13. We have taken steps to notify significant beneficial owners of ordinary shares whom we know are PRC residents of their filing obligations. However, we may not at all times be fully aware or informed of the identities of all our shareholders or beneficial owners that are required to make such registrations, and we may not always be able to compel them to comply with all relevant foreign exchange regulations. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents will at all times comply with, or in the future make or obtain any applicable registrations or approvals required by all relevant foreign exchange regulations. The failure or inability of such individuals to comply with the registration procedures set forth in these regulations may subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrictions on our cross-border investment activities or our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to, or obtain foreign-exchange-dominated loans from, our company, or prevent us from making distributions or paying dividends. As a result, EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and its ability to make distributions to the investors could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Furthermore, as these foreign exchange regulations are still relatively new and their interpretation and implementation have been constantly evolving, it is unclear how these regulations, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border transactions, will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant government authorities. We cannot predict how these regulations will affect EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China or future strategy. In addition, if we decide to acquire a PRC domestic company, we cannot assure you that we or the owners of such company, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary approvals or complete the necessary filings and registrations required by the foreign exchange regulations. This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and prospects.

 

PRC regulation on loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control in currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our initial public offering or follow-on offering to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand EZGO’s business.

 

EZGO is a company incorporated in the BVI structured as a holding company conducting its operations in China through its PRC subsidiaries. As permitted under PRC laws and regulations, in utilizing the proceeds of its initial public offering or follow-on offering, EZGO may make loans to its PRC subsidiaries subject to the approval from governmental authorities and limitation of amount, or EZGO may make additional capital contributions to its PRC subsidiaries. Furthermore, loans by EZGO to its PRC subsidiaries to finance their activities cannot exceed the difference between their respective total project investment amount and registered capital or 2.5 times of their net worth and capital contributions to its PRC subsidiaries are subject to the requirement of making necessary filings in the Foreign Investment Comprehensive Management Information System and registration with other governmental authorities in China.

 

The SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 19, effective on June 1, 2015, in replacement of the Circular on the Relevant Operating Issues Concerning the Improvement of the Administration of the Payment and Settlement of Foreign Currency Capital of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, the Notice from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Relevant Issues Concerning Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Exchange Businesses, and the Circular on Further Clarification and Regulation of the Issues Concerning the Administration of Certain Capital Account Foreign Exchange Businesses. According to SAFE Circular 19, the flow and use of the RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company is regulated such that RMB capital may not be used for the issuance of RMB entrusted loans, the repayment of inter-enterprise loans or the repayment of bank loans that have been transferred to a third party. Although SAFE Circular 19 allows RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise to be used for equity investments within the PRC, it also reiterates the principle that RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope. Thus, it is unclear whether the SAFE will permit such capital to be used for equity investments in the PRC in actual practice. The SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Foreign Exchange Settlement Management Policy of Capital Account, or SAFE Circular 16, effective on June 9, 2016, which reiterates some of the rules set forth in SAFE Circular 19, but changes the prohibition against using RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company to issue RMB entrusted loans to a prohibition against using such capital to grant loans to non-associated enterprises. Violations of SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 could result in administrative penalties. SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 may significantly limit our ability to transfer any foreign currency we hold, including the net proceeds from our initial public offering or follow-on offering, to our PRC subsidiaries, which may adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand EZGO’s business in the PRC through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries.

 

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In light of the various requirements imposed by PRC regulations on loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries or with respect to future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use the proceeds from our initial public offering or follow-on offering and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand EZGO’s business.

 

The PRC government could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, restrict deployment of the cash into the business of the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and restrict the ability to pay dividends to U.S. investors, which could materially adversely affect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.

 

The PRC government controls the conversion of Renminbi into foreign currencies and the remittance of currencies out of the PRC. We receive substantially all of our revenues in Renminbi, and most of our cash is in Renminbi. Under our corporate structure, EZGO, a BVI holding company, primarily relies on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements it may have. Under the existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and trade- and-service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from the SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. As such, under the existing exchange restrictions, cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiaries is able to be paid as dividends in foreign currencies to EZGO without prior approval from the SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where Renminbi is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may also at its discretion in the future restrict access to foreign currencies for current account transactions. There is no assurance that the PRC government will not intervene or impose restrictions on the ability of us, our subsidiaries or the VIE to transfer cash. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies from the PRC subsidiary to the offshore subsidiaries, across borders, and to our shareholders, including the U.S. investors. These foreign exchange restrictions and limitations could prevent the cash maintained from leaving the PRC, and restrict our ability to pay dividends to EZGO and the U.S. investors.

 

There are limitations on our PRC subsidiaries’ and the VIE’s ability to distribute earnings to their respective shareholders. On the one hand, under the current PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits. In addition, our PRC subsidiaries are required to set aside at least 10% of their accumulated after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds, until the aggregate amount of such fund reaches 50% of their registered capital. Our PRC subsidiaries may at their discretion allocate a portion of their after-tax profits to staff welfare and bonus funds in accordance with relevant PRC rules and regulations. These reserve funds and staff welfare and bonus funds cannot be distributed as cash dividends. Moreover, if the PRC subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. On the other hand, through the VIE Agreements among Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and its shareholders, we receive substantially all of the economic benefits of the VIE, most importantly, the ability to consolidate the financial statements of the VIE with the financial statements of our holding company, EZGO under U.S. GAAP, for which we are the primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes, in consideration for the services provided by Changzhou EZGO. For more information, see “Item 3. Key Information—Contractual Arrangements and Corporate Structure” in this annual report. The VIE agreements are not equivalent to equity ownership, and may limit our ability to settle amounts owed by the VIE under the VIE agreements. For example, the contractually bound shareholders of the VIE could potentially breach their contractual agreements with us by failing to fulfill their contractual obligations, failing to act in our interest, or acting to the detriment of our interest. Moreover, as these shareholders, rather than Changzhou EZGO, are the actual shareholders of the VIE, we are unable to independently exercise any rights as a shareholder of the VIE and force the VIE to distribute its earnings to us. In addition, the legality or enforceability of the VIE agreements have never been tested in a court of law in China. If any relevant contractual provisions were to ultimately be held unenforceable by the PRC courts or other governmental authorities, such uncertainty could result in us facing a reduced ability or complete inability to receive the economic benefits of the business operations of the VIE. These restrictions and limitations could limit our ability to settle amounts owed under the VIE agreements and our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends.

 

In addition, any transfer of funds by EZGO to our PRC subsidiaries, either as a shareholder loan or as an increase in the registered capital, is subject to a series of procedural requirements imposed by SAFE, SAMR, MOFCOM, or their local counterparts. This may hinder or delay EZGO’s deployment of cash into its subsidiaries’ and the VIE’ business, which could result in a material and adverse effect on EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.

 

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Under the PRC EIT Law, we may be classified as a PRC “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Such classification would likely result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders and has a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

 

Under the PRC EIT Law, that became effective in January 2008 and was amended in February 2017 and December 2018, as well as its implementing rules, an enterprise established outside the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC is considered a “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes and is generally subject to a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate on its worldwide income. Under the implementation rules to the EIT Law, a “de facto management body” is defined as a body that has material and overall management and control over the manufacturing and business operations, personnel and human resources, finances and properties of an enterprise. In addition, a circular, known as SAT Circular 82, issued in April 2009 by the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, specifies that certain offshore incorporated enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups will be classified as PRC resident enterprises if the following are located or resident in the PRC: senior management personnel and departments that are responsible for daily production, operation and management; financial and personnel decision making bodies; key properties, accounting books, company seal, and minutes of board meetings and shareholders’ meetings; and half or more of the senior management or directors having voting rights. Further to SAT Circular 82, the SAT issued a bulletin, known as SAT Bulletin 45, which took effect in September 2011, to provide more guidance on the implementation of SAT Circular 82 and clarify the reporting and filing obligations of such “Chinese-controlled offshore incorporated resident enterprises.” SAT Bulletin 45 provides procedures and administrative details for the determination of resident status and administration on post-determination matters. Although both SAT Circular 82 and SAT Bulletin 45 only apply to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreign individuals, the determining criteria set forth in SAT Circular 82 and SAT Bulletin 45 may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises, PRC enterprise groups or by PRC or foreign individuals.

 

We do not believe that EZGO, as a company incorporated in the BVI, meets all of the conditions above thus we do not believe that EZGO is a PRC resident enterprise, though all members of our management team as well as the management team of our offshore holding company are located in China. However, if the PRC tax authorities determine that we are a PRC resident enterprise for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we will be subject to the uniform 25% enterprise income tax on our world-wide income, which could materially reduce our net income. In addition, we will also be subject to PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.”

 

Finally, dividends payable by us to our investors and gains on the sale of our shares may become subject to PRC withholding tax, at a rate of 10% in the case of non-PRC enterprises or 20% in the case of non-PRC individuals (in each case, subject to the provisions of any applicable tax treaty), if such gains are deemed to be from PRC sources. It is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of our company would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in the ordinary shares.

 

There are significant uncertainties under the PRC EIT Law relating to the withholding tax liabilities of our PRC subsidiaries, and dividends payable by our PRC subsidiaries to our offshore subsidiaries may not qualify to enjoy certain treaty benefits.

 

Under the PRC EIT Law and its implementation rules, we, as a non-resident enterprise, that is, an enterprise lawfully incorporated pursuant to the laws of a foreign country (region) that has an office or premises established in China with no actual management functions performed in China, or an enterprise that has income derived from or accruing in China although it does not have an office or premises in China, will be subject to a withholding tax rate of 10%. Pursuant to a special arrangement between Hong Kong and mainland China, such rate may be reduced to 5% if a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns more than 25% of the equity interest in the PRC company. Changzhou EZGO is wholly owned by EZGO HK, EZGO’s wholly-owned subsidiary. Accordingly, EZGO HK may qualify for a 5% tax rate in respect of distributions from Changzhou EZGO. Under the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues regarding the Administration of the Dividend Provision in Tax Treaties promulgated on February 20, 2009, the taxpayer needs to satisfy certain conditions to enjoy the benefits under a tax treaty. These conditions include: (1) the taxpayer must be the beneficial owner of the relevant dividends, and (2) the corporate shareholder to receive dividends from the PRC subsidiaries must have continuously met the direct ownership thresholds during the 12 consecutive months preceding the receipt of the dividends. Further, under Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Relating to “Beneficial Owner” in Tax Treaties, which took effect on April 1, 2018, a “Beneficial Owner” shall mean a person who has ownership and control over the income and the rights and property from which the income is derived. To determine the “beneficial owner” status of a resident of the treaty counterparty who needs to enjoy the tax treaty benefits, a comprehensive analysis shall be carried out, taking into account actual conditions of the specific case.

 

Entitlement to a lower tax rate on dividends according to tax treaties or arrangements between the PRC central government and governments of other countries or regions is subject to State Administration of Taxation Circular 60 (“Circular 60”). Circular 60 provides that non-resident enterprises are not required to obtain pre-approval from the relevant tax authority in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax. Instead, non-resident enterprises and their withholding agents may, by self-assessment and on confirmation that the prescribed criteria to enjoy the tax treaty benefits are met, directly apply the reduced withholding tax rate, and file necessary forms and supporting documents when performing tax filings, which will be subject to post-tax filing examinations by the relevant tax authorities. As a result, we cannot assure you that we will be entitled to any preferential withholding tax rate under tax treaties for dividends received from WFOE.

 

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Enhanced scrutiny over acquisition transactions by the PRC tax authorities may have a negative impact on potential acquisitions we may pursue in the future.

 

Pursuant to the Notice on Strengthening Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfers by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or SAT Circular 698, issued by the SAT on December 10, 2009, where a foreign investor transfers the equity interests of a resident enterprise indirectly via disposition of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, or an “indirect transfer,” and such overseas holding company is located in a tax jurisdiction that (i) has an effective tax rate less than 12.5% or (ii) does not tax foreign income of its residents, the foreign investor shall report the indirect transfer to the competent tax authority. The PRC tax authority will examine the true nature of the indirect transfer, and if the tax authority considers that the foreign investor has adopted an “abusive arrangement” in order to avoid PRC tax, it may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company and re-characterize the indirect transfer and as a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%.

 

On February 3, 2015, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Several Issues Concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Property Transfer by Non-Resident Enterprises, or SAT Bulletin 7, to supersede existing provisions in relation to the “indirect transfer” as set forth in SAT Circular 698, while the other provisions of SAT Circular 698 remain in force. Pursuant to SAT Bulletin 7, where a non-resident enterprise indirectly transfers properties such as equity in PRC resident enterprises without any justifiable business purposes and aiming to avoid the payment of enterprise income tax, such indirect transfer must be reclassified as a direct transfer of equity in PRC resident enterprise. To assess whether an indirect transfer of PRC taxable properties has reasonable commercial purposes, all arrangements related to the indirect transfer must be considered comprehensively and factors set forth in SAT Bulletin 7 must be comprehensively analyzed in light of the actual circumstances. SAT Bulletin 7 also provides that, where a non-PRC resident enterprise transfers its equity interests in a resident enterprise to its related parties at a price lower than the fair market value, the competent tax authority has the power to make a reasonable adjustment to the taxable income of the transaction.

 

On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Matters Concerning Withholding of Income Tax of Non-resident Enterprises as Source, or SAT Bulletin 37, which repealed the entire SAT Circular 698 and the provision in relation to the time limit for the withholding agent to declare to the competent tax authority for payment of such tax of SAT Bulletin 7. Pursuant to SAT Bulletin 37, the income from a property transfer, as stipulated in the second item under Article 19 of the Law on Enterprise Income Tax, shall include the income derived from transferring such equity investment assets as stock equity. The balance of deducting the equity’s net value from the total income from equity transfer shall be taxable income from equity transfer. Where a withholding agent enters into a business contract, involving the income specified in the third paragraph of Article 3 in the Law on Enterprise Income Tax, with a non-resident enterprise, the tax-excluding income of the non-resident enterprise will be treated as the tax-including income, based on which the tax payment will be calculated and remitted, if it is agreed in the contract that the withholding agent shall assume the tax payable.

 

There has been very limited application of SAT Bulletin 7 and SAT Bulletin 37 because these regulations were newly issued and came into force in February 2015 and in December 2017 respectively. During the effective period of SAT Circular 698, some intermediary holding companies were actually looked through by the PRC tax authorities, and consequently the non-PRC resident investors were deemed to have transferred the PRC subsidiary and PRC corporate taxes were assessed accordingly. It is possible that we or our non-PRC resident investors may become at risk of being taxed under SAT Bulletin 7 and SAT Bulletin 37 and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Bulletin 7 and SAT Bulletin 37 or to establish that we or our non-PRC resident investors should not be taxed under SAT Bulletin 7 and SAT Bulletin 37, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or such non-PRC resident investors’ investment in EZGO.

 

Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to restrictions on paying dividends or making other payments to us, which may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make remittance to pay dividends to us could limit our ability to access cash generated by the operations of those entities.

 

EZGO is a company incorporated in the BVI structured as a holding company. EZGO may need dividends and other distributions on equity from our PRC subsidiaries to satisfy EZGO’s liquidity requirements. Current PRC regulations permit our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to EZGO only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, EZGO’s PRC subsidiaries are required to set aside at least 10% of their respective accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds until the total amount set aside reaches 50% of their respective registered capital. EZGO’s PRC subsidiaries may also allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to employee welfare and bonus funds at their discretion. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Furthermore, if our PRC subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us. Any limitation on the ability of EZGO’s subsidiaries to distribute dividends or to make payments to it may restrict EZGO’s ability to satisfy its liquidity requirements.

 

In addition, the EIT Law, and its implementation rules provide that a withholding tax rate of up to 10% will be applicable to dividends payable by Chinese companies to non-PRC-resident enterprises unless otherwise exempted or reduced according to treaties or arrangements between the PRC central government and governments of other countries or regions where the non-PRC-resident enterprises are incorporated.

 

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Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in foreign currency exchange losses to us.

 

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions and the foreign exchange policy adopted by the PRC government. In August 2015, the People’s Bank of China, or PBOC, changed the way it calculates the mid-point price of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar, requiring the market-makers who submit for reference rates to consider the previous day’s closing spot rate, foreign-exchange demand and supply as well as changes in major currency rates. In 2017, the value of the Renminbi appreciated by approximately 6.3% against the U.S. dollar; and in 2018, the Renminbi depreciated by approximately 5.7% against the U.S. dollar. From the end of 2018 through the end of September 2021, the value of the Renminbi appreciated by approximately 5.20% against the U.S. dollar. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy, including any interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future. There remains significant international pressure on the PRC government to adopt a more flexible currency policy, including from the U.S. government, which has threatened to label China as a “currency manipulator,” which could result in greater fluctuation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar. However, the PRC government may still at its discretion restrict access to foreign currencies for current account transactions in the future. Therefore, it is difficult to predict how market forces or government policies may impact the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar or other currencies in the future. In addition, the PBOC regularly intervenes in the foreign exchange market to limit fluctuations in RMB exchange rates and achieve policy goals. If the exchange rate between RMB and U.S. dollar fluctuates in unanticipated manners, our results of operations and financial condition, and the value of, and dividends payable on, EZGO’s shares in foreign currency terms may be adversely affected. EZGO may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to its shareholders. Appreciation of RMB to the U.S. dollar will result in exchange loss, while depreciation of RMB to the U.S. dollar will result in exchange gain.

 

It may be difficult for overseas shareholders and/or regulators to conduct investigation or collect evidence within China.

 

Shareholder claims or regulatory investigation that are common in the United States generally are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in China. For example, in China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to providing information needed for regulatory investigations or litigation initiated outside China. Although the authorities in China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the Unities States may not be efficient in the absence of mutual and practical cooperation mechanism. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. While detailed interpretation of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China may further increase difficulties faced by you in protecting your interests.

 

The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.

 

The M&A Rules discussed in the preceding risk factor and related regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex. For example, the M&A Rules require that MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise, if (i) any important industry is concerned, (ii) such transaction involves factors that have or may have impact on the national economic security, or (iii) such transaction will lead to a change in control of a domestic enterprise which holds a famous trademark or PRC time-honored brand, (iv) or in circumstances where overseas companies established or controlled by PRC enterprises or residents acquire affiliated domestic companies. Mergers, acquisitions or contractual arrangements that allow one market player to take control of or to exert decisive impact on another market player must also be notified in advance to the MOFCOM when the threshold under the Provisions on Thresholds for Prior Notification of Concentrations of Undertakings, or the Prior Notification Rules, issued by the State Council in August 2008 is triggered.

 

We have relied on the opinion of our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, that we do not need to obtain prior approval from the CSRC pursuant to the M&A Rules. However, uncertainties still exist as to how the M&A Rules will be interpreted and implemented, and we may subject to any new laws, rules, and regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations in any form relating to the M&A Rules. If the CSRC or other PRC regulatory body subsequently determines that we need to obtain the CSRC’s approval for any future offering or if the CSRC or any other PRC government authorities promulgates any interpretation or implements rules before our listing that would require us to obtain CSRC or other governmental approvals for any future offering, we may face adverse actions or sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies. In any such event, these regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, limit its operating privileges in China, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from any future offering into the PRC or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as its ability to complete any future offering. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies may also take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to halt any future offering before settlement and delivery. Consequently, if you engage in market trading or other activities in anticipation of and prior to settlement and delivery, you do so at the risk that such settlement and delivery may not occur.

 

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In addition, the security review rules issued by the MOFCOM that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOFCOM, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. Furthermore, according to the security review, foreign investments that would result in acquiring the actual control of assets in certain key sectors, such as critical agricultural products, energy and resources, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, cultural products and services, information technology, Internet products and services, financial services, and technology sectors, are required to obtain approval from designated governmental authorities in advance.

 

In the future, EZGO may grow its business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the MOFCOM or its local counterparts may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions. It is unclear whether EZGO’s business operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China would be deemed to be in an industry that raises “national defense and security” or “national security” concerns. However, the MOFCOM or other government agencies may publish explanations in the future determining that EZGO’s business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China is in an industry subject to the security review, in which case our future acquisitions in the PRC, including those by way of entering into contractual control arrangements with target entities, may be closely scrutinized or prohibited. EZGO’s ability to expand its business or maintain or expand its market share through future acquisitions would as such be materially and adversely affected. Furthermore, according to the M&A Rules, if a PRC entity or individual plans to merge or acquire its related PRC entity through an overseas company legitimately incorporated or controlled by such entity or individual, such a merger and acquisition will be subject to examination and approval by the MOFCOM. There is a possibility that the PRC regulators may promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain the approval of the MOFCOM or other PRC governmental authorities for our completed or ongoing mergers and acquisitions. There is no assurance that, if we plan to make an acquisition, we can obtain such approval from the MOFCOM or any other relevant PRC governmental authorities for our mergers and acquisitions, and if we fail to obtain those approvals, we may be required to suspend our acquisition and be subject to penalties. Any uncertainties regarding such approval requirements could have a material adverse effect on EZGO’s business, results of operations and corporate structure.

 

In addition, on July 6, 2021, the relevant PRC government authorities made public the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies. As these opinions are recently issued, official guidance and related implementation rules have not been issued yet and the interpretation of these opinions remains unclear at this stage. If the CSRC or other regulatory agencies later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that EZGO obtains their approvals for any future follow-on offering, EZGO may be unable to obtain such approvals which could significantly limit or completely hinder its ability to offer or continue to offer its securities to its investors outside China.

 

U.S. regulatory bodies may be limited in their ability to conduct investigations or inspections of EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China.

 

Any disclosure of documents or information located in China by foreign agencies may be subject to jurisdiction constraints and must comply with China’s state secrecy laws, which broadly define the scope of “state secrets” to include matters involving economic interests and technologies. There is no guarantee that requests from U.S. federal or state regulators or agencies to investigate or inspect EZGO’s operations through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China will be honored by us, by entities who provide services to us or with whom we associate, without violating PRC legal requirements, especially as those entities are located in China. Furthermore, under the current PRC laws, an on-site inspection of our facilities by any of these regulators may be limited or prohibited.

 

You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing actions in China against us or our management named in this annual report based on foreign laws.

 

EZGO is a company incorporated under the laws of the BVI, and EZGO conduct substantially all of its operations in China through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries and substantially all of its assets are located in China. In addition, a majority of EZGO’s current directors and officers, including Mr. Jianhui Ye, Mr. Zebin Zhao, Ms. Peiyao Jin, Mr. Guanghui Yang and Mr. Guanneng Lai are nationals and residents of the PRC and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process upon us or those persons inside mainland China. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors as none of them currently resides in the United States or has substantial assets located in the United States. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the PRC would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state.

 

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The recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are provided for under the PRC Civil Procedures Law. PRC courts may recognize and enforce foreign judgments in accordance with the requirements of the PRC Civil Procedures Law based either on treaties between China and the country where the judgment is made or on principles of reciprocity between jurisdictions. China does not have any treaties or other forms of written arrangement with the United States that provide for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, according to the PRC Civil Procedures Law, the PRC courts will not enforce a foreign judgment against us or our directors and officers if they decide that the judgment violates the basic principles of PRC laws or national sovereignty, security, or public interest. As a result, it is uncertain whether and on what basis a PRC court would enforce a judgment rendered by a court in the United States.

 

EZGO’s ordinary shares may be delisted under the HFCA Act if the PCAOB is unable to adequately inspect audit documentation located in China. The delisting of EZGO’s ordinary shares, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect EZGO’s ordinary shares. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct adequate inspections deprives our shareholders with the benefits of such inspections. Furthermore, on June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which, if enacted, would amend the HFCA Act and require the SEC to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on any U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections for two consecutive years instead of three. 

 

The HFCA Act was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCA Act states if the SEC determines that a company has filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the PCAOB for three consecutive years beginning in 2021, the SEC shall prohibit such ordinary shares from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over the counter trading market in the U.S.

 

On March 24, 2021, the SEC adopted interim final rules relating to the implementation of certain disclosure and documentation requirements of the HFCA Act. A company will be required to comply with these rules if the SEC identifies it as having a “non-inspection” year under a process to be subsequently established by the SEC. The SEC is assessing how to implement other requirements of the HFCA Act, including the listing and trading prohibition requirements described above. Furthermore, on June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which, if enacted, would amend the HFCA Act and require the SEC to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on any U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections for two consecutive years instead of three, and thus, would reduce the time before EZGO’s securities may be prohibited from trading or delisted. On September 22, 2021, the PCAOB adopted a final rule implementing the HFCA Act, which provides a framework for the PCAOB to use when determining, as contemplated under the HFCA Act, whether the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms located in a foreign jurisdiction because of a position taken by one or more authorities in that jurisdiction.

 

On December 2, 2021, the SEC adopted final amendments to its rules implementing the HFCA Act. Such final rules establish procedures that the SEC will follow in (i) determining whether a registrant is a “Commission-Identified Issuer” (a registrant identified by the SEC as having filed an annual report with an audit report issued by a registered public accounting firm that is located in a foreign jurisdiction and that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by an authority in that jurisdiction) and (ii) prohibiting the trading of an issuer that is a Commission-Identified Issuer for three consecutive years under the HFCA Act. The SEC began identifying Commission-Identified Issuers for the fiscal years beginning after December 18, 2020. A Commission-Identified Issuer is required to comply with the submission and disclosure requirements in the annual report for each year in which it was identified. If a registrant is identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer based on its annual report for the fiscal year ended, for example, September 30, 2021, the registrant will be required to comply with the submission or disclosure requirements in its annual report filing covering the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been, and do not expect to be identified by the SEC under the HFCA Act.

 

On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued its determination report that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and in Hong Kong, because of positions taken by PRC authorities in those jurisdictions, and the PCAOB included in the report of its determination a list of the accounting firms that are headquartered in mainland China or Hong Kong. This report does not include our former auditors, MarcumAsia and Briggs & Veselka, or our current auditor, WWC.

 

On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB announced that it had signed the Statement of Protocol with the CSRC and the MOF. The terms of the Statement of Protocol would grant the PCAOB complete access to audit work papers and other information so that it may inspect and investigate PCAOB-registered accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB announced that it has secured complete access to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong and voted to vacate the previous 2021 determination report to the contrary. As a result, we do not expect to be identified as a “Commission-Identified Issuer” under the HFCA Act for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022 after we file our annual report on Form 20-F for such fiscal year. However, whether the PCAOB will continue to conduct inspections and investigations completely to its satisfaction of PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong is subject to uncertainty and depends on a number of factors out of our, and our auditor’s control including positions taken by authorities of the PRC. The PCAOB is expected to continue to demand complete access to inspections and investigations against accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong in the future and states that it has already made plans to resume regular inspections in early 2023 and beyond. The PCAOB is required under the HFCA Act to make its determination on an annual basis with regards to its ability to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms based in the mainland China and Hong Kong. The possibility of being a “Commission-Identified Issuer” and risk of delisting could continue to adversely affect the trading price of our securities. Should the PCAOB again encounter impediments to inspections and investigations in mainland China or Hong Kong as a result of positions taken by any authority in either jurisdiction, the PCAOB will make determinations under the HFCAA as and when appropriate.

 

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Furthermore, various equity-based research organizations have recently published reports on China-based companies after examining their corporate governance practices, related party transactions, sales practices and financial statements, and these reports have led to special investigations and listing suspensions on U.S. national exchanges. Any similar scrutiny on us, regardless of its lack of merit, could cause the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares to fall, divert management resources and energy, cause us to incur expenses in defending ourselves against rumors, and increase the premiums we pay for director and officer insurance.

 

Our former auditor, MarcumAsia, an independent registered public accounting firm, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. MarcumAsia is headquartered in Manhattan, New York, and is subject to inspection by the PCAOB on a regular basis with the last inspection in 2020.

 

Our former auditor, Briggs & Veselka, the independent registered public accounting firm that issued one of the audit reports included in this annual report, an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and an U.S.-based accounting firm registered with the PCAOB, was subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. Briggs & Veselka was headquartered in Houston, Texas, and was subject to inspection by the PCAOB with the last inspection in 2019. Briggs & Veselka’s withdrawal of its registration with the PCAOB became effective on May 24, 2022.

 

Our current auditor as of the date of this annual report, WWC, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. WWC is headquartered in Flushing, New York, and is subject to inspection by the PCAOB on a regular basis with the last inspection in February 2022.

 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the future, if there is any regulatory change or step taken by PRC regulators that does not permit our auditor to provide audit documentations located in China to the PCAOB for inspection or investigation, investors may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection. Any audit reports not issued by auditors that are completely inspected by the PCAOB, or a lack of PCAOB inspections of audit work undertaken in China that prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditors’ audits and their quality control procedures, could result in a lack of assurance that our financial statements and disclosures are adequate and accurate, then such lack of inspection could cause EZGO’s securities to be delisted from the stock exchange. The recent developments would add uncertainties to our offering pursuant to a prospectus and we cannot assure you whether Nasdaq or regulatory authorities would apply additional and more stringent criteria to us after considering the effectiveness of such auditor’s audit procedures and quality control procedures, adequacy of personnel and training, or sufficiency of resources, geographic reach or experience as it relates to the audit of our financial statements.

 

The SEC may propose additional rules or guidance that could impact us if such auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspection. For example, on August 6, 2020, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, or the PWG, issued, to the then President of the United States, the Report on Protecting United States Investors from Significant Risks from Chinese Companies. This report recommended the SEC implement five recommendations to address companies from jurisdictions that do not provide the PCAOB with sufficient access to fulfill its statutory mandate. Some of the concepts of these recommendations were implemented with the enactment of the HFCA Act. However, some of the recommendations were more stringent than the HFCA Act. For example, if a company’s auditor was not subject to PCAOB inspection, the report recommended that the transition period before a company would be delisted would end on January 1, 2022.

 

The SEC has announced that the SEC staff is preparing a consolidated proposal for the rules regarding the implementation of the HFCA Act and to address the recommendations in the PWG report. It is unclear when the SEC will complete its rulemaking and when such rules will become effective and what, if any, of the PWG recommendations will be adopted. The implications of this possible regulation in addition to the requirements of the HFCA Act are uncertain. While we understand that there has been dialogue among the CSRC, the SEC and the PCAOB regarding the inspection of PCAOB-registered accounting firms in China, there can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with requirements imposed by U.S. regulators. Such uncertainty could cause the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares to be materially and adversely affected, and EZGO’s securities could be delisted and prohibited from being traded on a national securities exchange earlier than would be required by the HFCA Act. If EZGO’s securities are unable to be listed on another securities exchange by then, such a delisting would substantially impair the ability to sell or purchase EZGO’s ordinary shares when desired, and the risk and uncertainty associated with a potential delisting would have a negative impact on the price of EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

Should the PCAOB be unable to fully conduct inspections in China, which prevents it from fully evaluating the audits and quality control procedures of our independent registered public accounting firm, we and investors in EZGO’s securities may be deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. Any inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China could make it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our shares to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements, which could materially and adversely affect the value of in its securities. Further, new laws and regulations or changes in laws and regulations in both the United States and China could affect our ability to list EZGO’s ordinary shares on Nasdaq, which could materially impair the market for and market price of its ordinary shares.

 

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Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has, and will likely continue to, negatively impact the global economy and disrupt normal business activity, which may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The global spread of COVID-19 and the efforts to control it have slowed global economic activity and disrupted, and reduced the efficiency of, normal business activities in much of the world. The pandemic has resulted in authorities around the world implementing numerous unprecedented measures such as travel restrictions, quarantines, shelter in place orders, and factory and office shutdowns. These measures impacted our workforce and operations, and those of our customers and suppliers. In particular, from October 2021 to March 2022 we experienced some disruption to our operations during the Chinese government mandated lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including random shutdowns of out Tianjin and Changzhou factories, restrictions or suspensions of logistics and shipping services in certain areas of China. While we and our major suppliers are currently fully operational, there can be no assurance that these measures related to additional or increased outbreaks will not be implemented again.

 

In response to governmental directives and recommended safety measures, we have implemented personal safety measures at all our facilities. However, these measures may not be sufficient to mitigate the risk of infection by COVID-19. If a significant number of our employees, or employees and third parties performing key functions, including our management and members of our board of directors, become ill, our business may be further adversely impacted.

 

More generally, the COVID-19 pandemic has and is expected to continue to adversely affect economies and financial markets globally in the longer-term, and could result in a continued economic downturn and a recession. This would likely adversely affect demand for some of our products, which may, in turn negatively impact our results of operations, but it is not possible at this time to estimate the full impact that COVID-19 will have on our business, as the impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.

 

Recent increased cases of COVID-19 and/or shutdowns related to additional or increased outbreaks have not currently had a material impact on our operations, supply chain, liquidity or capital resources. We continue to see demand in our products and have implemented a new marketing channel and sales model with increasing urban agent stores, as well as the launch of our new products. However, the environment remains uncertain and the impact of COVID-19 and the gradual recovery in sales of our products may not be sustainable over the longer term. There can be no assurance that increased cases of COVID-19 will not, in the future, have a material impact on our operations, supply chain, liquidity or capital resources. The degree to which the pandemic ultimately impacts our business and results of operations will depend on future developments beyond our control, including the severity of the pandemic, the extent of actions to contain or treat the virus, how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume, and the severity and duration of the global economic downturn that results from the pandemic.

 

We may incur losses in the future.

 

We had net income of approximately $0.28 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020 respectively and we had net loss of approximately $3.41 million and $7.47 million for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2021 and 2022. We anticipate that our operating expenses (such as sale expense, marketing expense and research and development expense), together with the increased general administrative expenses of a growing public company, will increase in the foreseeable future as we seek to maintain and continue to grow our business, attract potential customers and further enhance our product offering. These efforts may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue sufficiently to offset these higher expenses. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, we may incur net losses in the future and may be unable to achieve or maintain profitability on an interim or annual basis for the foreseeable future.

 

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We are an early stage company of e-bicycle products and charging piles with a limited operating history. Our limited operating history in the industry may not provide an adequate basis to judge our future prospects and results of operations for this segment, and may increase the risk of your investment.

 

We launched our business in 2014 and started focusing on the current business of electronic bicycle (“e-bicycle”) products and charging piles in August 2019. Our limited history may not provide a meaningful basis for investors to evaluate our business, financial performance and prospects of our business. Potential customers may not be familiar with our market and may have difficulty distinguishing our products and services from those of our competitors. Convincing potential new customers of the value of our products and services is critical to increasing the volume of sales facilitated through our website and to the success of our business. If we fail to educate potential customers about the value of our products and services, if the market for our services does not develop as we expect, or if we fail to address the needs of our target market in China or elsewhere, our business and results of operations will be harmed. 

 

If we fail to develop and introduce new models of e-bicycle products in anticipation of market demand in a timely and cost-effective manner, our competitive position and ability to generate revenues may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Recently, our primary focus has been new models of e-bicycle products. As a new player in the e-bicycle industry, we face intense competition from current industry leaders. The introduction of new products is subject to risks and uncertainties. Unexpected technical, operational, logistical, regulatory, or other problems could delay or prevent the introduction of one or more new products. Moreover, we cannot assure you that any of these new products will match the quality or popularity of those developed by our competitors, and achieve widespread market acceptance or generate the desired level of income for our customers.

 

Meanwhile, offering new products requires us to make investments in research and development, recruit and train additional qualified workers, and increase marketing efforts. In addition, some manufactures, including the large companies in this industry, like Aima and Yadea, have developed low-end and low-cost models which are sold at approximate RMB1,000 per vehicle (without battery). Since most of the e-bicycle users are low-income workers, we may encounter difficulties with the creation of the new products and in offering new products, we may face new risks and challenges that we are not familiar with. Furthermore, we may experience difficulties in recruiting or otherwise identifying qualified workers to develop the new products. If we are unable to offer new products in a timely and cost-effective manner, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

 

If we fail to adopt new technologies or adapt our e-bicycles to changing customer requirements or the industry standards, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the functionality and features of our e-bicycles. The production cycle of e-bicycles from research and development stage to implementation stage takes significant time. The changes in customer requirements and preferences, frequent introductions of new products and services embodying new technologies and the emergence of new industry standards and practices, any of which could render our existing technologies and products obsolete. Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to identify, develop, acquire or license leading technologies useful in our business, and respond to technological advances and new industry standards and practices in a cost-effective and timely way. The development of e-bicycles or other proprietary technology entails significant technical and business risks. We may not be able to use new technologies effectively or adapt our projects and proprietary technologies to meet customer requirements or new industry standards. If we are unable to adapt in a cost-effective and timely manner a response to changing market conditions or customer requirements, whether for technical, legal, financial, or other reasons, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

If we are unable to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

 

To accommodate our growth, we anticipate that we will need to implement a variety of new and upgraded operational and financial systems, procedures, and controls, including the improvement of our accounting and other internal management systems. We will also need to continue to expand, train, manage and motivate our workforce and manage our relationships with customers and third-party suppliers. All of these endeavors involve risks, and will require substantial management effort and significant additional expenditures. We may not be able to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, and any failure to do so may have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects.

 

Our marketing strategy of appealing to and growing sales to a more diversified group of users may not be successful.

 

Our marketing is aimed at reinforcing customer perceptions of our brand as a premium e-bicycles brand and leasing service provider. We aim to provide users with a good user experience, including by providing our users with access to a full suite of services conveniently through our online website and services stores. We cannot assure you that our services or our efforts to engage with our users using both our online and offline channels, will be successful, which could impact our revenues as well as our customer satisfaction and marketing.

 

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To grow the business over the long term, we must be successful in selling products and services and promoting our brand experience to a broader and more users. We must also execute our diversification strategy without adversely impacting the strength of the brand with core users. Failure to successfully drive demand for our e-bicycles may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

We face intense competition in the charging pile market, and if we fail to compete effectively, we may lose market share and customers.

 

New and enhanced technologies may increase the competition in the charging pile industry. Increased competition may reduce our profitability, market share, customer base and brand recognition. There can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors, and such competitive pressures may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

Our products and services may experience quality problems from time to time, which could result in decreased sales, adversely affect our results of operations and harm our reputation.

 

Our products and services may contain design and manufacturing defects. There can be no assurance that we will be able to detect and fix all defects in the products and services we offer. Failure to do so could result in lost in revenue, significant warranty and other expenses and harm to our reputation.

 

Additionally, we source and purchase key components in our operations and production of e-bicycles from third-party and related party suppliers, such as tires, motors and controllers. Currently, we purchase most of the e-bicycles and components for Jiangsu Cenbird from a related party. We cannot assure you that the quality and functions of these key components supplied by suppliers will be consistent with and maintained at our high standard. Any defects or quality issues in these key components or any noncompliance incidents associated with these third-party suppliers could result in quality issues with our e-bicycles and hence compromise our brand image and results of operations.

 

We may be subject to product liability claims if people or properties are harmed by our products and we may be compelled to undertake product recalls or take other actions, which could adversely affect our brand image and results of operations.

 

We are subject to product liability claims for our products sold or rented through online and offline channels. As a result, sales and/or rentals of such products on our platform could expose us to product liability claims relating to personal injury or property damage and may require product recalls or other actions. Third-parties subject to such injury or damage may bring claims or legal proceedings against us as retailer, and manufacturer and lessor of the products. In the future, we may at various times, voluntarily or involuntarily, initiate a recall if any of our products, including any systems or parts sourced from our suppliers, prove to be defective or noncompliant with applicable laws and regulations. Such recalls, whether voluntary or involuntary or caused by systems or components engineered or manufactured by us or our suppliers, could involve significant expense and could adversely affect our brand image in our target markets, as well as our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our products are subject to safety and other standards and failure to satisfy such mandated standards would have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results.

 

All e-bicycles must comply with the safety and other standards of the market where the e-bicycles are sold. In China, e-bicycles must meet or exceed all mandated safety and other standards, including national and local standards. Under these standards, the Company is required to conduct rigorous testing and use approved materials and equipment. On April 15, 2019, the State Administration for Market Regulatory and the National Standardization Administration of China jointly promulgated the Regulation on Safety Technical Specification for Electric Bicycles and announced the new standard GB11761-2018 was effective, or the National New Standard, replacing the old standard GB17761-1999. Although we follow the regulatory requirements and have obtained the 3C certificates issued by Certification Center of Light Industry Council, our new models e-bicycles may fail to meet the National New Standard.

 

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In addition, our batteries must comply with the national standard GB/T 36972-2018 Lithium Batteries for Electric Bicycles, which was officially released on December 28, 2018 and implemented on July 1, 2019. Lithium batteries that do not meet standard may be returned by customers, harm our reputation and subject us to additional regulatory actions. While there is no national standard for charging pile, if the customers are not satisfied with our products, the products may be returned. This could harm our relationship with our business partners and reputation in the industry. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial results.

 

The wide variety of payment methods that we accept subjects us to third-party payment processing-related risks.

 

We accept payments using a variety of methods, including bank transfers, online payments with debit cards issued by banks in China, and payment through third-party online payment platforms such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. We may be subject to fraud and other illegal activities in connection with the various payment methods we accept, including online payments. In addition, we are subject to various rules, regulations and requirements, regulatory or otherwise, governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for us to comply. If we fail to comply with these rules or requirements, we may be subject to fines and higher transaction fees and lose our ability to accept debit card payments from our customers, process electronic funds transfers or facilitate other types of online payments, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We are dependent upon our core customers for substantial portions of the sale and rental of our e-bicycles and batteries. Any interruption in our relationship with our core customers could materially and adversely affect our growth and financial condition.

 

We have relied on our three major customers in sales of batteries, including Ningbo Yiqi New Energy Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Weichen Technology Co., Ltd., and Changzhou Copidi Energy Co., Ltd., each accounted for approximately 29%, 23% and 23%, respectively, of our sales of lithium batteries for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022. We relied on our three major customers in sales of batteries, including Zhejiang Weichen Technology Co., Ltd., Changzhou Copidi Energy Co., Ltd., and Guangxi Anneng Technology Co., Ltd., each accounted for approximately 52%, 28% and 8%, respectively, of our sales of lithium batteries for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021. And we relied on our three major customers in sales of batteries, including Beijing 70 Generation Co., Ltd., Hehai Jinsong Bicycle Sales Shop, and Shangchi Motors Co., Ltd., each accounted for approximately 20%, 19% and 10%, respectively, of our sales of batteries for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020.

 

We have relied on our two major customers in sales of e-bicycles, including Jiangsu Biyaqiao Motorcycle Sales Co., Ltd. and Wenzhou Longwan Yongzhong Tengbu Bicycle Firm, each accounted for approximately 22% and 13%, respectively, of our e-bicycles sales revenue for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022. We relied on three major customers, including Henan Young Man Industries Trade Co., Ltd., Beijing 70 Generation Co., Ltd., and Wenzhou Longwan Yongzhong Tengbu Bicycle Firm, each accounted for approximately 17%, 11% and 9%, respectively, of our e-bicycles sales revenue for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021. And we relied on one major customer in e-bicycles sales business, Beijing 70 Generation Co., Ltd., accounted for approximately 31% of our e-bicycles sales revenue for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020. Any disputes with our business partners could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

Our success depends on our ability to retain our core management team and other key personnel.

 

Our performance depends on the continued service and performance of our directors and senior management as they are expected to play an important role in guiding the implementation of our business strategies and future plans. If any of our directors or any members of our senior management were to terminate their service or employment, there can be no assurance that we would be able to find suitable replacements in a timely manner, at acceptable cost or at all. The loss of services of key personnel or the inability to identify, hire, train and retain other qualified and managerial personnel in the future may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Additionally, we rely on our research and development personnel for product development and technology innovation. If any of our key research and development personnel were to leave us, we cannot assure you that we can secure equally competent research and development personnel in a timely manner, or at all.

 

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Competition for our employees is intense, and we may not be able to attract and retain the highly skilled employees needed to support our business.

 

As we continue to experience growth, we believe our success depends on the efforts and talents of our employees, including management team and financial personnel. Our future success depends on our continued ability to attract, develop, motivate and retain highly qualified and skilled employees. Competition for highly skilled personnel is extremely intense. We may not be able to hire and retain these personnel at compensation levels consistent with our existing compensation and salary structure. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced employees have greater resources than we do and may be able to offer more attractive terms of employment.

 

In addition, we invest significant time and expense in training our employees, which increases their value to competitors who may seek to recruit them. If we fail to retain our employees, we could incur significant expenses in hiring and training their replacements, and the quality of our services and our ability to serve customers could diminish, resulting in a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We may not be able to prevent others from unauthorized use of our intellectual property, which could harm our business and competitive position.

 

We regard our trademarks, domain names, trade secrets, proprietary technologies and other intellectual property as critical to our business. We rely on a combination of intellectual property laws and contractual arrangements, including confidentiality agreements with our employees, partners and others, to protect our proprietary rights. As of the date of this annual report, we have obtained eight registered patents from the PRC related to technologies used in our battery cell manufacturing, battery packing and two-stroke permanent magnet engines as well as e-bicycle manufacturing. We have also registered 14 trademarks with the China Trademark Office and have right to use one registered “Cenbird” trademark, and 12 copyright registrations with the PRC. See “Item 4B. Business Overview – Intellectual Property.”

 

It is often difficult to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in China. Statutory laws and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation and enforcement and may not be applied consistently due to the lack of clear guidance on statutory interpretation. Accordingly, we may not be able to effectively protect our intellectual property rights or to enforce our contractual rights in China. Policing any unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly and the steps we have taken may be inadequate to prevent the misappropriation of our intellectual property. In the event that we resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, such litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our managerial and financial resources. We can provide no assurance that we will prevail in such litigation. In addition, our trade secrets may be leaked or otherwise become available to, or be independently discovered by, our competitors. Any failure in protecting or enforcing our intellectual property rights could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

As our patents may expire and may not be extended, our patent applications may not be granted and our patent rights may be contested, circumvented, invalidated or limited in scope, our patent rights may not protect us effectively.

 

As of the date of this annual report, we owned eight registered patents relating to various aspects of our operations. The rights granted under any issued patents, however, may not provide us with proprietary protection or competitive advantages. The claims under any patents that issue from our patent applications may not be broad enough to prevent others from developing technologies that are similar or that achieve results similar to ours. It is also possible that the intellectual property rights of others will bar us from licensing. Numerous patents owned by others exist in the fields in which we have developed and are developing our technology. These patents and patent applications might have priority over our patent applications and could subject our patent applications to invalidation. Finally, in addition to those who may claim priority, any of our existing patents may also be challenged by others on the basis that they are otherwise invalid or unenforceable. Any failure in extending our existing patents, or if our patent rights were to be contested, circumvented, invalidated or limited in scope could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which may be expensive to defend and may disrupt our business and operations.

 

We cannot be certain that our operations or any aspects of our business do not or will not infringe upon or otherwise violate patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We have been, and from time to time in the future may be, subject to legal proceedings and claims relating to the intellectual property rights of others. In addition, there may be other third-party intellectual property that is infringed by our products, services or other aspects of our business. There could also be existing patents of which we are not aware that our products may inadvertently infringe. Holders of patents purportedly relating to some aspect of our products or business, if any such holders exist, may seek to enforce such patents against us in China, the United States or any other jurisdictions. Further, the application and interpretation of China’s patent laws and the procedures and standards for granting patents in China are still evolving and are uncertain, and PRC courts or regulatory authorities may not agree with our analysis. If we are found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be subject to liability for our infringement activities or may be prohibited from using such intellectual property, and we may incur licensing fees or be forced to develop alternatives of our own. In addition, we may incur significant expenses, and may be forced to divert management’s time and other resources from our business and operations to defend against these third-party infringement claims, regardless of their merits. Infringement of our intellectual property rights or successful licensing claims made against us may result in significant monetary liabilities and may materially disrupt our business and operations by restricting or prohibiting our use of the intellectual property in question.

 

Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by a downturn in the global or Chinese economies.

 

Because our sales may depend on customers’ levels of disposable income, perceived job prospects and willingness to spend, our business and prospects may be affected by economic conditions in China or globally. Although the Chinese economy has grown steadily in the past decade, there is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the People’s Bank of China and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and China. There have been concerns over unrest and terrorist threats in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, which have resulted in volatility in oil and other markets. There have also been concerns on the relationship among China and other Asian countries, which may result in or intensify potential conflicts in relation to territorial disputes. In addition, the world economy has been facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions, as well as changes in domestic economic and political policies and the expected or perceived overall economic growth rate in China. A decline in the economic prospects in the mechanics and other industries could alter current or prospective customers’ spending priorities. We cannot assure you that e-bicycles’ spending in general or with respect to our product offerings in particular will increase, or not decrease, from current levels. Therefore, a slowdown in China’s economy or the global economy may lead to a reduction in demand for e-bicycles, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. If we fail to develop and maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

 

In connection with the preparation of our financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, we have identified material weaknesses and other control deficiencies including significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. As defined in the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States, or PCAOB, a “material weakness” is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

As of and for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, one material weakness that has been identified related to our lack of sufficient financial reporting and accounting personnel with appropriate knowledge of accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) and SEC reporting requirements to properly address complex U.S. GAAP accounting issues and to prepare and review our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures to fulfill U.S. GAAP and SEC financial reporting requirements. The other material weakness that has been identified related to our lack of key monitoring mechanisms such as internal control department to oversee and monitor Company’s risk management, business strategies and financial reporting procedures.

 

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We have already taken some steps and have continued to implement measures to remediate the material weakness identified, including but not limited to (a) hiring a Chief Financial Officer on September 1, 2020 with adequate experience of U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting and compliance requirements, and (b) continuing our efforts to set up the internal audit department, and enhance the effectiveness of the internal control system. For details on these initiatives, please see “Item 15. Controls and Procedures — (b) Internal Control Over Financial Reporting.”

 

Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we are required to file a report by our management on our internal control over financial reporting, including an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. However, while we remain an emerging growth company, we will not be required to include an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. 

 

We cannot be certain that these measures will successfully remediate the material weakness or that other material weaknesses will not be discovered in the future. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, it could result material misstatements in our financial statements and we could fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

 

Any significant cybersecurity incident or disruption of our information technology systems or those of third-party partners could materially damage user relationships and subject us to significant reputational, financial, legal and operation consequences.

 

We depend on our information technology systems, as well as those of third parties, to develop new products and services, host and manage our services, store data and process transactions. Any material disruption or slowdown of our systems or those of third parties whom we depend upon could cause outages or delays in our services, particularly in the form of interruption of services delivered by our website, which could harm our brand and adversely affect our operating results. If changes in technology cause our information technology systems, or those of third parties whom we depend upon, to become obsolete, or if our or their information systems are inadequate to handle our growth, we could lose users, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

 

We have limited insurance coverage, which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.

 

We are exposed to various risks associated with our business and operations, and we have limited liability insurance coverage. A successful liability claim against us due to injuries or damages suffered by our users could materially and adversely affect our reputation, results of operations and financial conditions. Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could cause us adverse publicity, require substantial costs to defend, and divert the time and attention of our management. In addition, we do not have any business disruption insurance. Any business disruption event could result in substantial costs to us and a diversion of our resources.

 

We are subject to a variety of costs and risks due to our continued expansion internationally that may not be successful and could adversely affect our profitability and operating results.

 

Our e-bicycles are manufactured for sales and distribution mostly in China. We are continuing to expand the international market, although our current international market share is relatively small compared to our domestic business. Currently, we promote our products to the international market through online promotion. Developing the international market requires continuous investment in marketing expenses. International expansion represents a large opportunity to further grow our business and enhance our competitive position, and is one of our core strategies.

 

We may enter into new geographic markets where we have limited or no experience in marketing, selling, and localizing and deploying our e-bicycles. International expansion has required and will continue to require us to invest significant capital and other resources and our efforts may not be successful. International sales and operations may be subject to risks such as:

 

  limited brand recognition (compared with our home market in China);

 

  costs associated with establishing new distribution networks;

 

  difficulty to find qualified partners for overseas distribution;

 

  inability to anticipate foreign consumers’ preferences and customs;

 

  difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations;

 

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  burdens of complying with a wide variety of local laws and regulations, including personal data protection, battery, motor, packaging and labelling;

 

  political and economic instability;

 

  trade restrictions;

 

  lesser degrees of intellectual property protection;

 

  tariffs and customs duties and the classifications of our goods by applicable governmental bodies; and

 

  a legal system subject to undue influence or corruption.

 

The occurrence of any of these risks could negatively affect our international business and consequently our business and operating results. In addition, the concern over these risks may also prevent us from entering into or releasing certain of our e-bicycles in certain markets.

 

Changes in U.S. and Chinese regulations or in relations between the United States and China may adversely impact our business, our operating results, our ability to raise capital and the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares. Any such changes may take place quickly and with very little notice

 

The U.S. government, including the SEC, has recently made statements and taken certain actions that may lead to significant changes to U.S. and international relations, and will impact companies with connections to the United States or China. It is unknown whether and to what extent new tariffs (or other new laws or regulations will be adopted, or the effect that any such actions would have on us or our industry and users. Although cross-border business may not be an area of our major focus, if we increase the selling of our products internationally in the future, any unfavorable government policies on international trade, such as capital controls or tariffs, may affect the demand for our products and services, impact the competitive position of our products or prevent us from being able to sell products in certain countries. If any new tariffs, legislation and/or regulations are implemented, or if existing trade agreements are renegotiated or, in particular, if the U.S. government takes retaliatory trade actions due to the recent U.S.-China trade tension, such changes could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations.

 

In addition, the SEC has issued statements primarily focused on companies with significant China-based operations, such as us. For example, on July 30, 2021, Gary Gensler, Chairman of the SEC, issued a Statement on Investor Protection Related to Recent Developments in China, pursuant to which Chairman Gensler stated that he has asked the SEC staff to engage in targeted additional reviews of filings for companies with significant China-based operations. The statement also addressed risks inherent in companies with variable interest entity structure. It is possible that the Company’s filings with the SEC may be subject to enhanced review by the SEC and this additional scrutiny could affect our ability to effectively raise capital in the United States.

 

In response to the SEC’s July 30, 2021 statement, the CSRC announced on August 1, 2021, that “[i]t is our belief that Chinese and U.S. regulators shall continue to enhance communication with the principle of mutual respect and cooperation, and properly address the issues related to the supervision of China-based companies listed in the U.S. so as to form stable policy expectations and create benign rules framework for the market.” While the CSRC will continue to collaborate “closely with different stakeholders including investors, companies, and relevant authorities to further promote transparency and certainty of policies and implementing measures,” it emphasized that it “has always been open to companies’ choices to list their securities on international or domestic markets in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.” If any new legislation, executive orders, laws and/or regulations are implemented, if the U.S. or Chinese governments take retaliatory actions due to the recent U.S.-China tension or if the Chinese government exerts more oversight and control over securities offerings that are conducted in the United States, such changes could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, our ability to raise capital and the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

We rely substantially on external suppliers and third-party delivery service providers for our e-bicycles, charging piles and batteries.

 

We purchase certain key components and raw material, including tires, motors, headlight, panel frame and controllers, from external suppliers for use in our production of e-bicycles on a purchase order basis. We also rely on external suppliers to manufacture the charging piles and supply batteries or components of our batteries. The continuous and stable supply of these components, raw materials and products that meet our standards is crucial to our operations and production. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our existing relationships with these suppliers and continue to be able to source key components and raw materials we use in our e-bicycles on a stable basis and at a reasonable price or at all. For example, our suppliers may increase the prices for the components or materials we purchase and/or experience disruptions in their production of the components or materials. In addition, natural disasters or pandemics, such as the COVID-19 breakout, interrupted numerous supply chains in China, for companies operating in China as well as for international companies.

 

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We also rely on third party delivery companies to delivery products sold on our online shops. Interacting with and coordinating the activities of a number of delivery companies are complicated and any major interruptions to or failures in these third-parties’ shipping services could prevent the timely or successful delivery of our products. These interruptions may be due to unforeseen events that are beyond our control or the control of these third-party delivery companies, such as inclement weather, natural disasters, transportation interruptions or labor unrest or shortage. If our products are not delivered on time or are delivered in a damaged state, customers may refuse to accept our products and have less confidence in our services. Thus, we may lose customers, and our financial condition and reputation could suffer. Delivery of our products could also be affected or interrupted by the merger, acquisition, insolvency or government shutdown of the delivery companies we engage to make deliveries, especially those local companies with relatively small business scales. The occurrence of any of these problems, alone or together, could damage our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

We incur significant costs related to procuring components and raw materials and delivery services. The prices for the components and raw materials fluctuate depending on factors beyond our control including market conditions and demand for these components and materials. Substantial increases in the prices for the components or raw materials we use in producing our e-bicycle or any interruptions of delivery services would increase our costs and reduce our margins.

 

If our internal control over financial reporting or our disclosure controls and procedures are not effective, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results, prevent fraud or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in the value of EZGO’s securities.

 

Before completing our initial public offering (“IPO”), we were a private company since our incorporation, and as such, we did not have the internal control and financial reporting requirements that are required of a publicly traded company. As a publicly traded company, we are required to comply with the SEC’s rules implementing Sections 302 and 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which require that we maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. In particular, we must perform system and process evaluation, document our controls and perform testing of our key controls over financial reporting to allow management and, once we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” our independent registered public accounting firm to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In connection with the preparation of our financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, we identified material weaknesses and other control deficiencies including significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, or if we or our independent registered public accounting firm identify deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses, the value of EZGO’s securities would likely decline, and we could be subject to lawsuits, sanctions or investigations by regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources.

 

Implementing the appropriate changes to our internal controls may distract our senior management and employees, result in substantial costs to implement new processes or modify our existing processes and require significant time to complete. Any difficulties or delays in implementing the system could impact our ability to timely report our financial results. In addition, we currently rely on a manual process in some areas which increases our exposure to human error or intervention in reporting our financial results. For these reasons, we may encounter difficulties in the timely and accurate reporting of our financial results, which would impact our ability to provide our investors with information in a timely manner. As a result, our investors could lose confidence in our reported consolidated financial information, and the value of EZGO’s securities could decline.

 

In addition, any such changes do not guarantee that we will be effective in maintaining the adequacy of our internal controls, and any failure to maintain that adequacy could prevent us from accurately reporting our financial results.

 

Operating as a publicly traded company in the United States will subject us to additional rules and regulations, require us to incur substantial costs and require substantial management attention. In addition, our management team has limited experience managing a public company.

 

As a publicly traded company in the United States, we will incur substantial legal, accounting, director and officer insurance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. For example, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the rules and regulations of the SEC. The Nasdaq listing requirements, as well as other applicable securities rules and regulations, also apply to us. As part of these new requirements, we will need to establish and maintain effective disclosure and financial controls and make changes to our corporate governance practices. We expect that compliance with these requirements will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time consuming.

 

Most of our management and other personnel have little experience managing a public company and preparing public filings. In addition, we expect that our management and other personnel will need to divert attention from other business matters to devote substantial time to the reporting and other requirements of being a public company. In particular, we expect to incur significant expense and devote substantial management effort to complying with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We may need to hire additional accounting and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge.

 

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In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs and making some activities more time consuming. These laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity, and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices. We intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to their application and practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be adversely affected.

 

These new rules and regulations may make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and in the future, we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our Audit Committee and Nominating, Governance and Compensation Committee, and qualified senior management.

 

By disclosing information in this annual report and in filings required of a public company, our business and financial condition will become more visible, which we believe may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If those claims are successful, our business could be seriously harmed. Even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, the time and resources needed to resolve them could divert our management’s resources and seriously harm our business.

 

The occurrence of natural disasters may adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The occurrence of natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, and pandemic disease may adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations. The potential impact of a natural disaster on our results of operations and financial position is speculative and would depend on numerous factors. The extent and severity of these natural disasters determines their effect on a given economy. Although the long-term effect of diseases such as the COVID-19 “coronavirus,” H5N1 “avian flu,” or H1N1, the swine flu, cannot currently be predicted, previous occurrences of avian flu and swine flu had an adverse effect on the economies of those countries in which they were most prevalent. An outbreak of a communicable disease in our market could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, and timely reporting obligations under Regulation S-X and Regulation S-K following our business combination. We cannot assure you that natural disasters will not occur in the future or that our business, financial condition and results of operations will not be adversely affected.

 

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

 

Our current corporate structure and business operations may be affected by the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law which does not explicitly classify whether a VIE that is controlled through contractual arrangements would be deemed as foreign-invested enterprises if it is ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors.

 

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress, China’s national legislative body (the “NPC”) approved the Foreign Investment Law, which took effect on January 1, 2020. Since it is relatively new, uncertainties exist in relation to its interpretation. The Foreign Investment Law does not explicitly classify whether variable interest entities that are controlled through contractual arrangements would be deemed as foreign-invested enterprises if they are ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors. However, it has a catch-all provision under definition of “foreign investment” that includes investments made by foreign investors in China through other means as provided by laws, administrative regulations, or the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations, or provisions of the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements being viewed as a form of foreign investment. Therefore, there can be no assurance that our control over the VIE through contractual arrangements will not be deemed as foreign investment in the future.

 

The Foreign Investment Law grants national treatment to foreign-invested entities, except for those foreign-invested entities that operate in industries specified as either “restricted” or “prohibited” from foreign investment in a “negative list” that is yet to be published. It is unclear whether the “negative list” to be published will differ from the current Special Administrative Measures for Market Access of Foreign Investment (Negative List). The Foreign Investment Law provides that foreign-invested entities operating in “restricted” or “prohibited” industries will require market entry clearance and other approvals from relevant PRC government authorities. If our control over the VIE through contractual arrangements are deemed as foreign investment in the future, and any business of the VIE is “restricted” or “prohibited” from foreign investment under the “negative list” effective at the time, we may be deemed to be in violation of the Foreign Investment Law, the contractual arrangements that allow us to have control over the VIE may be deemed as invalid and illegal, and we may be required to unwind such contractual arrangements and/or restructure our business operations, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business operation.

 

Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations, or provisions mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure and business operations.

 

We rely on contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders to operate our business, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control and otherwise have a material adverse effect as to our business.

 

We rely on contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders to operate our business. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 3. Key Infomation — Contractual Arrangements and Corporate Structure.” All of our revenue is attributed to the VIE. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the VIE. If the VIE or its shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under these contractual arrangements, our recourse to the assets held by the VIE is indirect and we may have to incur substantial costs and expend significant resources to enforce such arrangements in reliance on legal remedies under PRC law. These remedies may not always be effective, particularly in light of uncertainties in the PRC legal system. Furthermore, in connection with litigation, arbitration or other judicial or dispute resolution proceedings, assets under the name of any of record holder of equity interest in the VIE, including such equity interest, may be put under court custody. As a consequence, we cannot be certain that the equity interest will be disposed pursuant to the contractual arrangement or ownership by the record holder of the equity interest.

 

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All of these contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in the PRC. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC laws and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal environment in the PRC is not as developed as in other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. In the event that we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we encounter significant time delays or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, it would be very difficult for us to enforce any of rights of determination over the most significant economic activities and receive the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE including, most importantly, our ability to consolidate the financial statements of the VIE with the financial statements of our holding company under U.S. GAAP, EZGO, and our ability to conduct our business and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. See “— Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.”

 

Any failure by the VIE or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We, through our WFOE in the PRC, have entered into a series of contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 3. Key Infomation — Contractual Arrangements and Corporate Structure.” If the VIE or its shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC laws, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure you will be effective under PRC laws. For example, if the shareholders of the VIE were to refuse to transfer their equity interests in the VIE to us or our designee when we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.

 

All the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC laws and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC laws and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and formal guidelines as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a VIE should be interpreted or enforced under PRC laws. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC laws, rulings by arbitrators are final and parties cannot appeal arbitration results in court unless such rulings are revoked or determined unenforceable by a competent court. If the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event that we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we encounter significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to enforce our rights to determine the most significant economic activities and receive the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE, most importantly, our ability to consolidate the financial statements of the VIE with the financial statements of our holding company, EZGO under U.S. GAAP, and relevant rights and licenses held by us which we require in order to operate our business, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected. See “— Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.”

 

The arbitration provisions under these contractual arrangements have no effect on the rights of our shareholders to pursue claims against us under the United States federal securities laws.

 

The shareholders of the VIE may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

The interests of the shareholders of the VIE in their capacities as such shareholders may differ from the interests of our company as a whole, as what is in the best interests of the VIE, including matters such as whether to distribute dividends or to make other distributions to fund our offshore requirement, may not be in the best interests of our company. There can be no assurance that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or those conflicts of interest will be resolved in our favor. In addition, these shareholders may breach or cause the VIE and its subsidiaries to breach or refuse to renew the existing contractual arrangements with us.

 

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Currently, we do not have arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest that the shareholders of the VIE may encounter, on one hand, and as a beneficial owner of our company, on the other hand. We, however, could, at all times, exercise our option under the exclusive option agreement to cause them to transfer all of their equity ownership in the VIE to a PRC entity or individual designated by us as permitted by the then applicable PRC laws. In addition, if such conflicts of interest arise, we could also, in the capacity of attorney-in-fact of the then existing shareholders of the VIE as provided under the power of attorney, directly appoint new directors of the VIE. We rely on the shareholders of the VIE to comply with PRC laws and regulations, which protect contracts and provide that directors and executive officers owe a duty of loyalty to our company and require them to avoid conflicts of interest and not to take advantage of their positions for personal gains, and the laws of the BVI, which provide those directors have a duty of care and a duty to act honestly in good faith with a view to our best interests. However, the legal frameworks of both China and BVI do not provide guidelines on resolving conflicts with other corporate governance regimes. If we cannot resolve any conflicts of interest or disputes between us and the shareholders of the VIE, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in the disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

 

If the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to the VIE do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries or other PRC regulations, or if these regulations change or are interpreted differently in the future, the securities EZGO has registered may decline in value or become worthless if the determinations, changes, or interpretations result in its inability to assert contractual rights over the assets of its PRC subsidiaries or the VIE that conducts a substantial part of EZGO’s operations. 

 

Because EZGO is a business company incorporated in the BVI, it is classified as a foreign enterprise under PRC laws and regulations, and EZGO’s WFOE in the PRC is a foreign-invested enterprise (“FIE”). Changzhou EZGO has entered into a series of contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders, which enable us to (i) have rights of determination over the most significant economic activities of the VIE, (ii) receive the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE, most importantly, the ability to consolidate the financial statements of the VIE with the financial statements of EZGO under U.S. GAAP, of which we are a primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests and assets in the VIE when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we have the contractual rights to determine the most significant economic activities, receive the majority of the economic benefits and are the primary beneficiary of the VIE and hence consolidate its financial results as the VIE under U.S. GAAP. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 3. Key Information—Contractual Arrangements and Corporate Structure—Contractual Arrangements with the VIE and Its Shareholders.”

 

We believe that our corporate structure and contractual arrangements comply with the current applicable PRC laws and regulations. Based on the advice of our PRC counsel, DeHeng Law Offices, that based on its understanding of the relevant laws and regulations, each of the contracts among our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and its shareholders is valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with its terms. However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of PRC laws and regulations, including the M&A Rules and the relevant regulatory measures concerning the telecommunications industry. There can be no assurance that the PRC government authorities, such as MOFCOM or MIIT, or other authorities that regulate online services providers and other participants in the telecommunications industry, would agree that our corporate structure or any of the above contractual arrangements comply with PRC licensing, registration or other regulatory requirements, with existing policies or with requirements or policies that may be adopted in the future. PRC laws and regulations governing the validity of these contractual arrangements are uncertain and the relevant government authorities have broad discretion in interpreting these laws and regulations.

 

If our corporate structure and contractual arrangements are deemed by the MIIT, the MOFCOM or other regulators that have competent authority, to be illegal, either in whole or in part, we may lose our rights to determine the most significant economic activities and the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE, most importantly, the ability to consolidate the financial statements of the VIE with the financial statements of our holding company, EZGO under U.S. GAPP, for which we are a primary beneficiary of the VIE, and have to modify such structure to comply with regulatory requirements. However, there can be no assurance that we can achieve this without material disruption to EZGO’s business primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. Further, if our corporate structure and contractual arrangements are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, the relevant regulatory authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:

 

  revoking our business and operating licenses;

 

  levying fines on us;

 

  confiscating any of our income that they deem to be obtained through illegal operations;

 

  shutting down our services;

 

  discontinuing or restricting EZGO’s operations in China;

 

  imposing conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply;

 

  requiring us to change our corporate structure and contractual arrangements;

 

  restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds from overseas offering to finance the VIE’s business and operations; and

 

  taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.

 

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The PRC government has broad discretion in determining rectifiable or punitive measures for non-compliance with or violations of PRC laws and regulations. The PRC government could disallow the variable interest entity structure, which would likely result in a material change in EZGO’s operations primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China and/or value of its securities, including that it could cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or become worthless. The VIE agreements have never been tested in a court of law in China. If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements in relation to the VIE do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change or are interpreted differently in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations. If the PRC government determines that we or the VIE do not comply with applicable law, it could revoke the VIE’s business and operating licenses, require the VIE to discontinue or restrict the VIE’s operations, restrict the VIE’s right to collect revenues, block the VIE’s websites, require the VIE to restructure its operations, impose additional conditions or requirements with which the VIE may not be able to comply, impose restrictions on the VIE’s business operations, or take other regulatory or enforcement actions against the VIE that could be harmful to its business. Any of these or similar occurrences could significantly disrupt our or the VIE’s business operations or restrict the VIE from conducting a substantial portion of its business operations, which could materially and adversely affect the VIE’s business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of these occurrences results in our inability to determine the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from the VIE, we may not be able to consolidate the VIE in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. In addition, EZGO’s securities may decline in value or become worthless if it is unable to consolidate the VIE’s operations and financial results in our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP as the primary beneficiary since the VIE and its subsidiaries conduct a significant part of EZGO’s operations.

 

Contractual arrangements in relation to the VIE may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that the VIE owes additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.

 

Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities. The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, requires every enterprise in China to submit its annual enterprise income tax return together with a report on transactions with its related parties to the relevant tax authorities. The tax authorities may impose reasonable adjustments on taxation if they identify any related party transactions that are inconsistent with the arm’s length principles. We may face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements among Changzhou EZGO, the VIE and its shareholders were not entered into on an arm’s length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, regulations and rules, and adjust their income in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by Changzhou EZGO or the VIE for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase their tax liabilities without reducing their tax expenses. Furthermore, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on Changzhou EZGO and the VIE for adjusted but unpaid taxes according to applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if the tax liabilities of Changzhou EZGO and the VIE increase, or if they are required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.

 

We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by the VIE that are material to the operation of our business if the entity goes bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.

 

The VIE holds substantially all of our assets. Under the contractual arrangements, the VIE and its shareholders may not cause it to, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of its assets or its legal or beneficial interests in the business without our prior consent. However, in the event that the shareholders of the VIE breach these contractual arrangements and voluntarily liquidate the VIE, or the VIE declares bankruptcy and all or part of its assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, or are otherwise disposed of without our consent, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If the VIE undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, independent third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If the custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets, our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Under PRC law, legal documents for corporate transactions, including agreements and contracts that our business relies on, are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity or with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with the relevant local branch of the State Administration for Market Regulation, formerly known as the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”). We generally execute legal documents by affixing chops or seals, rather than having the designated legal representatives sign the documents.

 

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We use two major types of chops: corporate chops and finance chops. Chops are seals or stamps used by a PRC company to legally authorize documents, often in place of a signature. We use corporate chops generally for documents to be submitted to government agencies, such as applications for changing business scope, directors or company name, and for legal letters. We use finance chops generally for making and collecting payments, including issuing invoices. Use of corporate chops must be approved by our legal department and administrative department, and use of finance chops must be approved by our finance department. The chops of our subsidiaries and the VIE are generally held by the relevant entities so that documents can be executed locally. Although we usually utilize chops to execute contracts, the registered legal representatives of our subsidiaries and the VIE have the apparent authority to enter into contracts on behalf of such entities without chops, unless such contracts set forth otherwise.

 

In order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secured locations accessible only to the designated key employees of our legal, administrative or finance departments. Our designated legal representatives generally do not have access to the chops. Although we have approval procedures in place and monitor our key employees, including the designated legal representatives of our subsidiaries and the VIE, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. In addition, we also separate the authorized user of chops from the keeper of keys to the storage room and install security camera for the storage room. There is a risk that our key employees or designated legal representatives could abuse their authority, for example, by binding our subsidiaries and the VIE with contracts against our interests, as we would be obligated to honor these contracts if the other contracting party acts in good faith in reliance on the apparent authority of our chops or signatures of our legal representatives. If any designated legal representative obtains control of the chop in an effort to obtain control over the relevant entity, we would need to have a shareholder or board resolution to designate a new legal representative to take legal action to seek the return of the chop, apply for a new chop with the relevant authorities, or otherwise seek legal remedies for the legal representative’s misconduct. If any of the designated legal representatives obtains and misuses or misappropriates our chops and seals or other controlling intangible assets for whatever reason, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations. We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve the matter, while distracting management from our operations, and our business operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Risks Related to EZGO’s Ordinary Shares

 

The market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares has recently declined significantly, and EZGO’s ordinary shares could be delisted from the Nasdaq or trading could be suspended.

 

The listing of EZGO’s ordinary shares on the Nasdaq Capital Market is contingent on our compliance with the Nasdaq Capital Market’s conditions for continued listing. On June 7, 2022, we announced that we received written notification, or the Notification Letter, from Nasdaq on June 3, 2022 that we were not in compliance with the minimum bid price requirement of US$1.00 per share under the Nasdaq Listing Rules (the “Minimum Bid Price Requirement”). In accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rules, we were required to regain compliance with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement within 180 calendar days, or by November 30, 2022. To regain compliance, EZGO’s ordinary shares were required to have had a closing bid price of at least US$1.00 for a minimum of 10 consecutive trading days or before November 30, 2022. We were unable to regain compliance with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement by November 30, 2022, and, as a result, we filed a plan for compliance with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement with the Nasdaq, and were granted a period of an additional 180 days, or by May 29, 2023, to comply with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement. As part of this compliance plan, we agreed to effect a reverse share split of our ordinary shares by May 29, 2023, if the closing bid price of our stock does not otherwise close at or above US$1,00 per share for at least 10 consecutive trading days. During this additional 180-day extension period, we intend to monitor the closing bid price of EZGO’s ordinary shares, and intend to hold a meeting of board of directors for the purpose of approving a reverse share split of EZGO’s issued and outstanding ordinary shares, if required, at a ratio which will be sufficient to increase the price of our ordinary shares above US$1.00. EZGO will effect the reverse share split in a timely manner, only if the closing bid price of EZGO’s ordinary shares does not increase above a minimum bid price of at least $1.00 per share for 10 consecutive trading days prior to May 29, 2023, without effecting a reverse share split. There can be no assurance that we will be able to regain compliance with the Minimum Bid price Requirement, without having to effect a reverse share split of EZGO’s ordinary shares, or maintain compliance with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement, after we have regained compliance, even if we implement a reverse share split.

 

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We cannot assure you that we will be able to regain compliance with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement under the Nasdaq Listing Rules, or that we will not receive other deficiency notifications from Nasdaq in the future. A decline in the closing price of EZGO’s ordinary shares could result in a breach of the requirements for listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market. If we do not maintain compliance, Nasdaq could commence suspension or delisting procedures in respect of EZGO’s ordinary shares. The commencement of suspension or delisting procedures by an exchange remains at the discretion of such exchange and would be publicly announced by the exchange. If a suspension or delisting were to occur, there would be significantly less liquidity in the suspended or delisted securities. In addition, our ability to raise additional necessary capital through equity or debt financing would be greatly impaired. Furthermore, with respect to any suspended or delisted ordinary shares, we would expect decreases in institutional and other investor demand, analyst coverage, market making activity and information available concerning trading prices and volume, and fewer broker-dealers would be willing to execute trades with respect to such ordinary shares. A suspension or delisting would likely decrease the attractiveness of EZGO’s ordinary shares to investors and cause the trading volume of EZGO’s ordinary shares to decline, which could result in a further decline in the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

In the event that EZGO’s ordinary shares are delisted from Nasdaq, U.S. broker-dealers may be discouraged from effecting transactions in EZGO’s ordinary shares because they may be considered penny stocks and thus be subject to the penny stock rules.

 

The SEC has adopted a number of rules to regulate “penny stock” that restricts transactions involving stock which is deemed to be penny stock. Such rules include Rules 3a51-1, 15g-1, 15g-2, 15g-3, 15g-4, 15g-5, 15g-6, 15g-7, and 15g-9 under the Exchange Act. These rules may have the effect of reducing the liquidity of penny stocks. “Penny stocks” generally are equity securities with a price of less than $5.00 per share (other than securities registered on certain national securities exchanges or quoted on Nasdaq if current price and volume information with respect to transactions in such securities is provided by the exchange or system). EZGO’s ordinary shares could be considered to be a “penny stock” within the meaning of the rules. The additional sales practice and disclosure requirements imposed upon U.S. broker-dealers may discourage such broker-dealers from effecting transactions in shares of EZGO’s ordinary shares, which could severely limit the market liquidity of such ordinary shares and impede their sale in the secondary market.

 

A U.S. broker-dealer selling a penny stock to anyone other than an established customer or “accredited investor” (generally, an individual with a net worth in excess of $1,000,000 or an annual income exceeding $200,000, or $300,000 together with his or her spouse) must make a special suitability determination for the purchaser and must receive the purchaser’s written consent to the transaction prior to sale, unless the broker-dealer or the transaction is otherwise exempt. In addition, the “penny stock” regulations require the U.S. broker-dealer to deliver, prior to any transaction involving a “penny stock”, a disclosure schedule prepared in accordance with SEC standards relating to the “penny stock” market, unless the broker-dealer or the transaction is otherwise exempt. A U.S. broker-dealer is also required to disclose commissions payable to the U.S. broker-dealer and the registered representative and current quotations for the securities. Finally, a U.S. broker-dealer is required to submit monthly statements disclosing recent price information with respect to the “penny stock” held in a customer’s account and information with respect to the limited market in “penny stocks”.

 

The market for “penny stocks” has suffered in recent years from patterns of fraud and abuse. Such patterns include (i) control of the market for the security by one or a few broker-dealers that are often related to the promoter or issuer; (ii) manipulation of prices through prearranged matching of purchases and sales and false and misleading press releases; (iii) “boiler room” practices involving high-pressure sales tactics and unrealistic price projections by inexperienced sales persons; (iv) excessive and undisclosed bid-ask differentials and markups by selling broker-dealers; and (v) the wholesale dumping of the same securities by promoters and broker-dealers after prices have been manipulated to a desired level, resulting in investor losses. Our management is aware of the abuses that have occurred historically in the penny stock market. Although we do not expect to be in a position to dictate the behavior of the market or of broker-dealers who participate in the market, management will strive within the confines of practical limitations to prevent the described patterns from being established with respect to EZGO’s securities.

 

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An active trading market for EZGO’s ordinary shares may not continue and the trading price for EZGO’s ordinary shares may fluctuate significantly.

 

We cannot assure you that a liquid public market for EZGO’s ordinary shares will continue. If an active public market for EZGO’s ordinary shares does not continue, the market price and liquidity of EZGO’s ordinary shares may be materially and adversely affected. We can provide no assurance that the trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares will not decline. As a result, investors in EZGO’s securities may experience a significant decrease in the value of their ordinary shares.

 

The trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

 

The trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares may be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States. A number of Chinese companies have listed or are in the process of listing their securities on U.S. stock markets. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility, including price declines in connection with their initial public offerings. The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States in general and consequently may impact the trading performance of EZGO’s ordinary shares, regardless of our actual operating performance.

 

In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for EZGO’s ordinary shares may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

 

  variations in our revenues, earnings, cash flow and data related to our user base or user engagement;

 

  announcements of new investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships or joint ventures by us or our competitors;

 

  announcements of new product and service offerings, solutions and expansions by us or our competitors;

 

  changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

  detrimental adverse publicity about us or our industry;

 

  additions or departures of key personnel;

 

  release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities; and

 

  potential litigation or regulatory investigations.

 

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which EZGO’s ordinary shares will trade.

 

In the past, shareholders of public companies often brought securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may not be able to maintain our listing on Nasdaq which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in EZGO’s securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.

 

EZGO’s ordinary shares are listed on Nasdaq. We cannot assure you that EZGO’s ordinary shares will continue to be listed on Nasdaq in the future. In order to continue listing EZGO’s securities on Nasdaq, we must maintain certain financial, distribution and share price levels. Generally, we must (i) maintain a minimum amount in shareholders’ equity (generally above $2,500,000), maintain a minimum market value of listed securities (generally above $35,000,000) or have a minimum net income from operations for the prior year of for two of the preceding years (generally above $500,000); and (ii) a minimum number of publicly held shares (generally greater than 500,000) and a minimum number of public shareholders (generally greater than 300 shareholders). EZGO’s ordinary shares also cannot have a bid price of less than $1.00. Moreover, we must comply with certain listing standards regarding the independence of our board of directors and members of our audit committee. We intend to fully comply with these requirements, but we may not be able to meet these requirements in the future.

 

If Nasdaq delists EZGO’s securities from trading on its exchange and we are not able to list EZGO’s securities on another national securities exchange, we expect EZGO’s securities could be quoted on an over-the-counter market. If this were to occur, we could face significant material adverse consequences, including:

 

  a limited availability of market quotations for EZGO’s securities;

 

  reduced liquidity for EZGO’s securities;

 

  a determination that EZGO’s ordinary shares are “penny stocks” which will require brokers trading in EZGO’s ordinary shares to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly result in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for EZGO’s securities;

 

  a limited amount of news and analyst coverage; and

 

  a decreased ability to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future.

 

The National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996, which is a U.S. federal statute, prevents or preempts the states from regulating the sale of certain securities, which are referred to as “covered securities.” Because EZGO’s ordinary shares are listed on Nasdaq, such securities will be covered securities. Although the states are preempted from regulating the sale of EZGO’s securities, the federal statute does allow the states to investigate companies if there is a suspicion of fraud, and, if there is a finding of fraudulent activity, then the states can regulate or bar the sale of covered securities in a particular case. Further, if we were no longer listed on Nasdaq, EZGO’s securities would not be covered securities and we would be subject to regulations in each state in which we offer EZGO’s securities.

 

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding EZGO’s ordinary shares, the market price for EZGO’s ordinary shares and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for EZGO’s ordinary shares will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade EZGO’s ordinary shares, the market price for EZGO’s ordinary shares would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the market price or trading volume for EZGO’s ordinary shares to decline.

 

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The sale or availability for sale of substantial amounts of EZGO’s ordinary shares could adversely affect their market price.

 

Sales of substantial amounts of EZGO’s ordinary shares in the public market in the future, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through equity offerings in the future. EZGO’s ordinary shares are freely tradable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act, and shares held by our existing shareholders may also be sold in the public market in the future subject to the restrictions in Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act and the applicable lock-up agreements. In connection with our initial public offering, we and each of our directors and officers, and certain shareholders agreed not to sell any ordinary shares for 12 months from January 25, 2021 without the prior written consent of the underwriter, subject to certain exceptions. However, the underwriters may release these securities from these restrictions at any time, subject to applicable regulations of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). In connection with our previous follow-on offering, our directors and officers agreed not to sell any ordinary shares for 90 days from June 1, 2021 without the prior written consent of the placement agent named therein, subject to certain exceptions. We cannot predict what effect, if any, market sales of securities held by our significant shareholders or any other shareholder or the availability of these securities for future sale will have on the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

We may need additional capital and may sell additional ordinary shares or other equity securities or incur indebtedness, which could result in additional dilution to our shareholders or increase our debt service obligations.

 

We may require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments, including any investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. If our cash resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The sale of additional equity securities or equity-linked debt securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or terms acceptable to us, if at all.

 

Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market price of the ordinary shares

 

Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the seller does not own but rather has borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale. As it is in the short seller’s interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions and allegations regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a security short. These short attacks have, in the past, led to selling of shares in the market. If we were to become the subject of any unfavorable allegations, whether such allegations are proven to be true or untrue, we could have to expend a significant amount of resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend ourselves. While we would strongly defend against any such short seller attacks, we may be constrained in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short seller by principles of freedom of speech, applicable state law or issues of commercial confidentiality.

 

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of EZGO’s ordinary shares for return on your investment.

 

We currently retain all of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in EZGO’s ordinary shares as a source for any future dividend income.

 

Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in EZGO’s ordinary shares will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of EZGO’s ordinary shares. There is no guarantee that EZGO’s ordinary shares will appreciate in value in the future or even maintain the price at which you purchased EZGO’s ordinary shares. You may not realize a return on your investment in EZGO’s ordinary shares and you may even lose your entire investment.

 

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Our principal shareholders have substantial influence over our company. Their interests may not be aligned with the interests of our other shareholders, and they could prevent or cause a change of control or other transactions.

 

As of the date of this annual report, our executive officers and directors, together with each of our principal shareholders owning 5% or more of our issued and outstanding ordinary shares, beneficially own approximately 5,772,564 ordinary shares, or approximately 22.53% of our outstanding ordinary shares.

 

Accordingly, our executive officers and directors, together with principal shareholders owning 5% or more of our issued and outstanding ordinary shares, could have a significant influence in determining the outcome of any corporate transaction or other matter submitted to the shareholders for approval, including mergers, consolidations, the election of directors and other significant corporate actions. In cases where their interests are aligned and they vote together, these principal shareholders will also have the power to prevent or cause a change in control. Without the consent of some or all of these principal shareholders, we may be prevented from entering into transactions that could be beneficial to us or our minority shareholders. In addition, our directors and officers could violate their fiduciary duties by diverting business opportunities from us to themselves or others. The interests of our principal shareholders may differ from the interests of our other shareholders. The concentration in the ownership of EZGO’s ordinary shares may cause a material decline in the value of EZGO’s ordinary shares.

 

As a company incorporated in the BVI, we are relying on certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. These practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards.

 

As a business company incorporated in the BVI that is listed on Nasdaq, EZGO is subject to Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. However, Nasdaq rules permit a foreign private issuer like EZGO to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the BVI, which is EZGO’s home country, may differ significantly from Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards, including, but not limited to, board of directors independent requirements, director nomination procedures, compensation committee matters. EZGO is following its home country law instead of the Nasdaq listing rules that require EZGO to obtain shareholder approval for certain dilutive events, such as certain transactions other than a public offering involving issuances of a 20% or greater interest in the company, and acquisitions of the stock or assets of another company. As a result, EZGO’s shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would enjoy under Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

EZGO is a BVI company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under BVI law than under U.S. law, you may have less protection for your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. law.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association as amended and restated from time to time, the BVI Business Company Act, 2004 (as amended) (“BVI Act”) and the common law of the BVI. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under BVI law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the BVI. The common law of the BVI is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the BVI as well as that from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the BVI. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under BVI law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the BVI has a different body of securities laws than the United States. In addition, some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the BVI. There is no statutory recognition in the BVI of judgments obtained in the United States, although the courts of the BVI will in certain circumstances recognize and enforce a non-penal judgment of a foreign court of competent jurisdiction without retrial on the merits. As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as shareholders of a U.S. public company.

 

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We are a foreign private issuer and, as a result, will not be subject to U.S. proxy rules and will be subject to more lenient and less frequent Exchange Act reporting obligations than a U.S. issuer.

 

Because we qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempted from certain provisions of the Exchange Act that are applicable to U.S. public companies, including:

 

  the sections of the Exchange Act that regulate the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;

 

  the sections of the Exchange Act that require insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and impose liability on insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and

 

  the rules under the Exchange Act that require the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q containing unaudited financial and other specified information and current reports on Form 8-K upon the occurrence of specified significant events.

 

In addition, foreign private issuers are not required to file their annual report on Form 20-F until 120 days after the end of each fiscal year, while U.S. domestic issuers that are not large accelerated filers or accelerated filers are required to file their annual report on Form 10-K within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year. Foreign private issuers are also exempt from Regulation FD, aimed at preventing issuers from making selective disclosures of material information. As a result, you may not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are not foreign private issuers.

 

We have incurred increased costs as a result of being a public company, particularly after we cease to qualify as an “emerging growth company.”

 

We are a public company and, as a result, have incurred significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and Nasdaq, impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. As a company with less than US$1.235 billion in revenues for our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include exemption from the auditor attestation requirement under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in the assessment of the emerging growth company’s internal control over financial reporting and permission to delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies.

 

We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. After we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” we expect to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC. For example, as a result of becoming a public company, we will need to increase the number of independent directors and adopt policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. We also expect that operating as a public company will make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. In addition, we will incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. It may also be more difficult for us to find qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules and regulations, and we cannot predict or estimate with any degree of certainty the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.

 

In the past, shareholders of a public company often brought securities class action suits against the company following periods of instability in the market price of that company’s securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations, which could harm our results of operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may lose our foreign private issuer status in the future, which could result in significant additional costs and expenses.

 

As discussed above, we are a foreign private issuer, and therefore, we are not required to comply with all of the periodic disclosure and current reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. The determination of foreign private issuer status is made annually on the last business day of an issuer’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, and, accordingly, the next determination will be made with respect to us on March 31, 2022. In the future, we would lose our foreign private issuer status if (1) more than 50% of our outstanding voting securities are owned by U.S. residents and (2) a majority of our directors or executive officers are U.S. citizens or residents, or we fail to meet additional requirements necessary to avoid loss of foreign private issuer status. If we lose our foreign private issuer status, we will be required to file with the SEC periodic reports and registration statements on U.S. domestic issuer forms, which are more detailed and extensive than the forms available to a foreign private issuer. We will also have to mandatorily comply with U.S. federal proxy requirements, and our officers, directors and principal shareholders will become subject to the short-swing profit disclosure and recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act. In addition, we will lose our ability to rely upon exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements under the listing rules of the Nasdaq. As a U.S. listed public company that is not a foreign private issuer, we will incur significant additional legal, accounting and other expenses that we will not incur as a foreign private issuer.

 

As an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, we are permitted to, and relying on exemptions from certain disclosure requirements.

 

As an “emerging growth company” under the JOBS Act, we are permitted to, and relying on exemptions from certain disclosure requirements. We are an emerging growth company until the earliest of:

 

  the last day of the fiscal year during which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.235 billion or more;

 

  the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of our initial public offering;

 

  the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt; or

 

  the date on which we are deemed a “large accelerated issuer” as defined under the federal securities laws.

 

For so long as we remain an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for up to five fiscal years after the date of our initial public offering. We cannot predict if investors will find EZGO’s ordinary shares less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find EZGO’s ordinary shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for EZGO’s ordinary shares and the trading price of EZGO’s ordinary shares may be more volatile. In addition, our costs of operating as a public company may increase when we cease to be an emerging growth company.

 

There can be no assurance that we will not be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, which could subject United States investors in EZGO’s ordinary shares to significant adverse United States income tax consequences.

 

A non-United States corporation, such as our company, will be classified as a PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, if either (i) 75% or more of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (ii) 50% or more of the value of its assets (determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income.

 

Based on our current composition of assets, subsidiaries and market capitalization (which will fluctuate from time to time), we do not expect to be or become a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. However, the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC will depend, in part, upon the value of our goodwill and other unrecorded intangibles. Furthermore, the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC will depend, in part, on the composition of our income and assets. Fluctuations in the market price of EZGO’s ordinary shares may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years. The composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets and the cash raised in our offerings. In addition, because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules, it is possible that the Internal Revenue Service may challenge our classification of certain income and assets as non-passive or our valuation of our tangible and intangible assets.

 

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Because determination of PFIC status is a fact-intensive inquiry made on an annual basis that depends upon the composition of our assets and income, no assurance can be given that we are not or will not become classified as a PFIC. If we were to be or become classified as a PFIC in any taxable year, a U.S. Holder (as defined in “ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION – 10.E.Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation”) may incur significantly increased U.S. federal income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of EZGO’s ordinary shares and on the receipt of distributions on the ordinary shares to the extent such gain or distributions is treated as an “excess distribution” under the U.S. federal income tax rules. Further, if we are classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds EZGO’s ordinary shares, we generally will continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds EZGO’s ordinary shares. You are urged to consult your tax advisor concerning the United States federal income tax consequences of acquiring, holding, and disposing of ordinary shares if we are or become classified as a PFIC. For more information, see “ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION – 10.E.Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation.”

 

You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under BVI law.

 

EZGO is a company incorporated under the laws of the BVI. As a result, it may be difficult for investors to enforce judgments obtained in the United States courts against our directors or officers.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the BVI Act and the common law of the BVI. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under BVI law are governed by the BVI Act and the common law of the BVI. The common law of the BVI is derived from English common law, and while the decisions of the English courts are of persuasive authority, they are not binding on a court in the BVI. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under BVI law may not be as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the BVI has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States, and some states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law. In addition, while statutory provisions do exist in BVI law for derivative actions to be brought in certain circumstances, shareholders in BVI companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States. The circumstances in which any such action may be brought, and the procedures and defenses that may be available with respect to any such action, may result in the rights of shareholders of a BVI company being more limited than those of shareholders of a company organized in the United States. Accordingly, shareholders may have fewer alternatives available to them if they believe that corporate wrongdoing has occurred.

 

The BVI courts are also unlikely:

 

  to recognize or enforce against us judgments of courts of the United States based on certain civil liability provisions of U.S. securities laws where that liability is in respect of penalties, taxes, fines or similar fiscal or revenue obligations of the company; and

 

  to impose liabilities against us, in original actions brought in the BVI, based on certain civil liability provisions of U.S. securities laws that are penal in nature.

 

There is no statutory recognition in the BVI of judgments obtained in the United States, although the courts of the BVI will in certain circumstances recognize such a foreign judgment and treat it as a cause of action in itself which may be sued upon as a debt at common law so that no retrial of the issues would be necessary provided that:

 

  the U.S. court issuing the judgment had jurisdiction in the matter and the company either submitted to such jurisdiction or was resident or carrying on business within such jurisdiction and was duly served with process;

 

  The judgement is final and for a liquidated sum;

 

  the judgment given by the U.S. court was not in respect of penalties, taxes, fines or similar fiscal or revenue obligations of the company;

 

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  in obtaining judgment there was no fraud on the part of the person in whose favor judgment was given or on the part of the U.S. court;

 

  recognition or enforcement of the judgment would not be contrary to public policy in the BVI; and

 

  the proceedings pursuant to which judgment was obtained were not contrary to natural justice.

 

As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by our board of directors, management or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a U.S. company.

 

Judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

 

We are a BVI company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, certain of our directors and officers reside outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process within the United States or elsewhere outside China upon these persons. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in China or BVI courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors, most of whom are not residents in the United States and the substantial majority of whose assets are located outside of the United States. It may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us in the BVI if you believe your rights under the U.S. securities laws have been infringed. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the BVI or China would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state and it is uncertain whether such BVI or China courts would hear original actions brought in the BVI or China against us or such persons predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state.

 

Provisions in our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association may inhibit a takeover of us, which could limit the price investors might be willing to pay in the future for our shares and could entrench management.

 

Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association contain provisions that may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals that shareholders may consider to be in their best interests. These provisions include a staggered board of directors and the ability of the board of directors to designate the terms of and issue new series of preferred shares, which may make the removal of management more difficult and may discourage transactions that otherwise could involve payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our shares.

 

Restrictive covenants related to our previous registered direct offering may restrict our ability to obtain future financing.

 

Under the securities purchase agreement with certain accredited investors (the “previous registered direct offering investors”) in connection with the previous registered direct offering, we are prohibited from entering into any Variable Rate Transaction (defined below) until such date that no warrants in connection with the previous registered direct offering remain outstanding. “Variable Rate Transaction” means a transaction in which the company (i) issues or sells any debt or equity securities that are convertible into, exchangeable or exercisable for, or include the right to receive additional ordinary shares either (A) at a conversion price, exercise price or exchange rate or other price that is based upon and/or varies with the trading prices of or quotations for the ordinary shares at any time after the initial issuance of such debt or equity securities, or (B) with a conversion, exercise or exchange price that is subject to being reset at some future date after the initial issuance of such debt or equity security or upon the occurrence of specified or contingent events directly or indirectly related to the business of the company or the market for the ordinary shares or (ii) enters into, or effects a transaction under, any agreement, including, but not limited to, an equity line of credit, whereby the company may issue securities at a future determined price.

 

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In addition, we granted the previous registered direct offering investors a 30% right of participation (on a pro-rata basis) with respect to any debt or equity linked financings undertaken by us for one year following the closing of the previous registered direct offering. These participation rights could severely impact our ability to engage investment bankers to structure a financing transaction and raise additional financing on favorable terms. Furthermore, negotiating and obtaining a waiver to these participation rights may either not be possible or may be costly to us.

 

We are subject to changing law and regulations regarding regulatory matters, corporate governance and public disclosure that have increased both our costs and the risk of non-compliance.

 

We are subject to rules and regulations by various governing bodies, including, for example, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are charged with the protection of investors and the oversight of companies whose securities are publicly traded, and to new and evolving regulatory measures under applicable law. Our efforts to comply with new and changing laws and regulations have resulted in and are likely to continue to result in, increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management time and attention from revenue generating activities to compliance activities.

 

Moreover, because these laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance becomes available. This evolution may result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and additional costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to our disclosure and governance practices. If EZGO fails to address and comply with these regulations and any subsequent changes, EZGO may be subject to penalty and its business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China may be harmed.

 

Handling of mail

 

Mail addressed to EZGO and received at its registered office will be forwarded unopened to the forwarding address supplied by EZGO to be dealt with. None of EZGO, its directors, officers, advisors or service providers (including the organization which provides registered office services in the BVI) will bear any responsibility for any delay howsoever caused in mail reaching the forwarding address.

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

4A. History and Development of the Company

 

EZGO was incorporated in the BVI on January 24, 2019. EZGO’s wholly owned subsidiary, EZGO HK, was incorporated in Hong Kong on February 13, 2019. EZGO HK, in turn, holds all of the capital stock of Changzhou EZGO, which was incorporated in China on June 12, 2019 and Changzhou Langyi, which was incorporated in China on August 6, 2021. Changzhou EZGO controls the VIE through the VIE Agreements. See “— Contractual Arrangements with the VIE and Its Shareholders.” EZGO conducts its business in the PRC primarily though the VIE and its subsidiaries, Hengmao Power Battery, a PRC company of which 80.87% of equity interest is owned by the VIE, Jiangsu Cenbird, a PRC company of which 51% of equity interest is owned by the VIE, Yizhiying IoT, a PRC company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the VIE, Tianjin Dilang, a PRC company of which Yizhiying IoT owns 80% of equity interest, and Tianjin Jiahao, a PRC company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the VIE, since EZGO obtained the rights to determine the most significant economic activities and receives the majority of the economic benefits of the VIE through contractual arrangements in November 2019.

 

As a result of such series of contractual arrangements, EZGO and its subsidiaries become the primary beneficiary of the VIE for accounting purposes and the VIE as a PRC consolidated entity under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of the VIE and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Neither we nor our investors own any equity ownership in, direct foreign investment in, or control through such ownership/investment of the VIE. These contractual arrangements have not been tested in a court of law in the PRC. As a result, investors in EZGO’s ordinary shares are not purchasing an equity interest in the VIE or its subsidiaries but instead are purchasing an equity interest in EZGO, the BVI holding company.

 

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On March 12, 2021, the VIE entered into an Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement (“Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement”) with Benlin Huang, an individual, and Tianjin Jiahao, a non-affiliated third party, pursuant to which the VIE agreed to purchase certain land and plants of Tianjin Jiahao (the “Target Assets”) for the Company’s future production and business development, for an aggregate purchase price of US$10,164,204, of which US$2,800,000 was paid as a deposit by EZGO in cash on March 15, 2021, with the remaining RMB50,000,000 (approximately US$7,364,204) to be paid upon the satisfaction of the closing conditions in order to complete of the acquisition, including Benlin Huang’s exclusive ownership of the Target Assets, our further due diligence of Tianjin Jiahao’s historical material indebtedness and the good and marketable title of the Target Assets and the renewal of Tianjin Jiahao’s business scope on its business certificate. On April 2, 2021, the VIE received a written Notice of Assignment, pursuant to which Benlin Huang assigned and transferred all of his rights, titles and obligations under the Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement to Shanghai Mingli New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (“Shanghai Mingli”).

 

On April 19, 2021, the VIE entered into a Shares Purchase Agreement with Shanghai Mingli and Tianjin Jiahao (“Shares Purchase Agreement”), pursuant to which the VIE obtained the right to purchase 100% of the outstanding shares of Shanghai Mingli, the owner of the title of the Target Assets. RMB15,000,000 (approximately US$2,209,261.22) of the cash consideration was paid on April 20, 2021 pursuant to the Shares Purchase Agreement, with the remaining RMB35,000,000 (approximately US$5,154,942.85) to be paid upon closing, which is subject to the closing conditions including the completion of the transfer of the title of the Target Assets and the registration of the acquisition with PRC governmental authorities.

 

The Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement and Shares Purchase Agreement contain customary representations and warranties from the selling parties and the VIE. We are entitled to indemnification for breaches by the selling parties of its representations and warranties.

 

On June 28, 2021, the acquisition of Tianjin Jiahao and the Target Assets was completed and Tianjin Jiahao became the VIE’s wholly owned subsidiary. With the completion of this acquisition, we have more than 35,000 square meters of factory land, including two factory buildings and an administration building, and a construction area of approximately 11,000 square meters. We also have the flexibility to construct an additional 40,000 square meters of production factory buildings on this land, located in the Beijing-Tianjin Science and Technology Valley in the Wuqing District of Tianjin, which is a part of China’s Bicycle Kingdom Industrial Zone. The estimated production capacity of the existing factory buildings purchased in this transaction is 100,000 units of two-wheeled e-bicycles. The estimated production capacity of the factory building that may be built on the remaining land purchased is anticipated to be approximately 500,000 units of two-wheeled e-bicycles. As of the date of this annual report, our current production capacity at our leased factory in Nancai Town of Tianjin is nearly 300,000 e-bicycles, with actual capacity of 150,000 e-bicycles due to limited turnover space. This acquisition of the Target Assets enables us to significantly ramp production of the e-bicycles following our completion of the national first-class electric motorcycle qualification application. 

 

Our principal executive offices are located at Building #A, Floor 2, Changzhou Institute of Dalian University of Technology, Science and Education Town, Wujin District, Changzhou City, Jiangsu, China 213164, and our phone number is + 86 51983683805. We maintain a corporate website at www.ezgotech.com.cn. The information contained in, or accessible from, our website or any other website does not constitute a part of this annual report.

 

Recent Developments

 

On July 21, 2022, EZGO entered into a securities purchase agreement (the “SPA”) with certain “non-U.S. Persons” (the “Purchasers”) as defined in Regulation S of the Securities Act, pursuant to which EZGO agreed to sell 10,000,000 ordinary shares (the “Shares”), at a per share purchase price of $0.80 (the “Reg S Offering”). The gross proceeds to the Company from the Reg S Offering were US$8.0 million. Upon closing of the Reg S Offering, there were 23,626,891 ordinary shares issued and outstanding. The Purchasers have each made customary representations, warranties and covenants. The Shares were issued to Purchasers upon satisfaction of all closing conditions, including Nasdaq’s completion of its review of the notification to Nasdaq regarding the listing of the Shares. The Shares issued in the Reg S Offering are exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act, pursuant to Regulation S promulgated thereunder. 

 

On August 8, 2022, upon the Compensation Committee’s approval and pursuant to EZGO’s 2022 Share Incentive Plan, EZGO awarded 320,000, 200,000, 330,000 and 150,000 ordinary shares to Zhixiang Wen, Xiaofei Han, Yuxing Liu and Huiyan Xie, respectively, all of whom are employees of EZGO, except Xiaofei Han who is a consultant of EZGO. The ordinary shares awarded to Zhixiang Wen and Xiaofei Han vested immediately as of the date of grant. The ordinary shares awarded to Yuxing Liu will vest on the first anniversary of the date of grant. The ordinary shares awarded to Huiyan Xie will vest on the second anniversary of the date of grant. The aggregate fair value of the ordinary shares awarded were $240,000, $150,000, $247,500 and $112,500, respectively, based on the closing price of EZGO’s ordinary shares on the date of grant.

 

On November 30, 2022, the SEC declared effective EZGO’s Registration Statement on Form F-3 (the “Shelf Registration Statement”). Pursuant to the Shelf Registration Statement, EZGO may offer for sale up to US$200,000,000 of EZGO’s securities in public and private transactions, subject to certain limitations. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, we have not yet sold any of our securities pursuant to the Shelf Registration Statement.

 

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4B. Business Overview

 

EZGO is a holding company incorporated in the BVI with operating subsidiaries, the VIE, in which EZGO does not hold any equity interest, and VIE’s subsidiaries, and with substantially all of its operations and assets in China. As a holding company with no material operations of its own, EZGO conducts its business in China through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries. Through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, EZGO’s vision is to be a leading short-distance transportation solutions provider in China. Leveraging its Internet of Things (“IoT”) product and service platform, EZGO has preliminarily established a business model centered on the sale of e-bicycles and battery and cells, complemented by sale of battery packs and its charging pile business through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China. Currently, EZGO (i) designs, manufactures, rents and sells e-bicycles and e-tricycles; (ii) rents and sells lithium batteries; and (iii) sells, franchises, and operates smart charging piles for e-bicycles and other electronic devices primarily through the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, and sells battery packs partially through the WFOE.

 

The e-bicycles are models under the PRC Safety Technical Specification for Electric Bicycles (GB 17761-2018) (also referred to generally as the “New National Standards for Electric Bicycles” and referred to herein as the “New National Standards”) (“new standards e-bicycles”) and there are no domestic law and regulations related to urban e-tricycles. Tianjin Dilang produces and sells the urban e-tricycles in suburban areas in Beijing and Tianjin. In addition, the two-wheel electric vehicle models that do not comply with the new standards e-bicycles that are manufactured under the New National Standards (“non-new standards e-bicycles”) are manufactured under the PRC National Standard General Specification for Electric Motorcycle and Electric Mopeds (GB/T24158-2018) (“General Specification Standard”), which came into effect on April 1, 2019. None of EZGO, the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China produces any non-new standards e-bicycles. As of September 30, 2022, EZGO, through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, did not have non-new standards e-bicycles as our property, plants and equipment and no impairment was recognized for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

 

To date, EZGO, through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, has engaged in the business of battery packs sales, which accounted for approximately 21%, 18% and 40% of its total revenues for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. The revenue from e-bicycles sales accounted for approximately 73%, 78% and 54% of its total revenues for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. For the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, as the self-developed smart charging piles for e-bicycles and other electronic devices have not yet entered into large-scale production and sales, the revenue from this business accounted for a small proportion of EZGO’s total revenues. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, the revenue from our smart charging piles business accounted for 3% of EZGO’s total revenues.

 

EZGO, through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, is committed to providing cost-effective and convenient solutions for short distance travelers through the design, manufacture, rental and sale of high-quality e-bicycles, with lightweight and high endurance lithium batteries, to meet different levels of consumer demand, and through the operation of smart charging piles in communities. EZGO, through the WFOE, the VIE and its subsidiaries in China, also plans to launch its online 4S (which stands for Sale, Spare-part supply, after-sale Service and Survey) services to enhance its sales capacity by combining its online sales portals and offline service and support channels.

 

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History and Milestones

 

The chart below illustrates the history and milestones of our company:

 

 

 

We commenced lithium battery pouch cell manufacture in May 2014 through Hengmao Power Battery and were one of the earliest private enterprises to manufacture lithium battery pouch cell in China. We established a mature lithium battery production process in a facility of approximately 15,000 square meters (approximately 161,460 square feet), equipped with four high-capacity lithium battery cell production lines and an annual production capacity of 100 million Ah lithium battery cells. However, due to changes in the Chinese government’s energy subsidy policies, and the concentration of industrial production capacity in a few leading companies in China, competition in the lithium battery industry intensified. As a result, we gradually shifted our focus from lithium battery cell manufacturing to battery packing since October 2018. We launched our lithium battery rental business in January 2017, targeting delivery service professionals, such as EMS, express service providers, and online meal deliverymen for platforms such as Meituan and Elema in Changzhou. In September 2017, we launched our e-bicycle rental business, targeting deliverymen, students, business travelers, migrant workers and also entered into agreements with our individual sublease agents to provide such service. However, we do not have any contractual arrangement with specific delivery service provider. We had not provided any online service until May 2018 whereby we launched our first online mobile application, Yidianxing, to run our IoT battery rental business. In October 2018, we decided to make a strategic shift from battery cell manufacturing to focus on the packing and sale of lithium batteries and the rental of lithium batteries and e-bicycles. In August 2018, we established Yizhiying IoT to develop and manage our IoT platform. Through Yizhiying IoT, we have continued to upgrade and enhance our IoT operating platform. In December 2018, we renewed a new version of our Yidianxing mobile application for the e-bicycles and battery rental business. For the ease of convenience for end-users’ experience and our system maintenance, we launched Wechat applet to replace the old mobile application in December 2019. To date, Yizhiying IoT has expanded our IoT platform to cover cities including Changzhou, Wenzhou and Wuhu.

 

In December 2018, we sold all of Hengmao Power Battery’s battery cell production lines and fully concentrated our business on the packing, rental and sale of lithium battery and e-bicycles.

 

On April 15, 2019, the New National Standards became effective in China. The New National Standards set out requirements for e-bicycles that include a pedal-riding function i.e. the speed of such e-bicycles cannot exceed 25 km/h and their weight should be no more than 55 kg. The New National Standards also mandate that the voltage shall not exceed 48V and that motor power shall not exceed 400W, among other limitations. The New National Standards also prohibits any sale of e-bicycles that do not comply with the standards. As to the use of non-new standards e-bicycles, the State Administration of Market Supervision, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued an order “2019 No. 53 - Strengthening the Supervision of the Implementation of National Standards for Electric Bicycles” (the “Order No. 53”). According to Article 4 of Order No. 53, each provincial government should provide a grace period and issue a temporary permission license to the owners of the non-new standards e-bicycles. The grace period for the use of non-new national standard e-bicycles in most provinces, including Jiangsu, is five years from April 15, 2019. Within the grace period, people can legally use, purchase, rent and ride non-new standard e-bicycles.

 

We assessed the business opportunities for the new standards e-bicycle market and concluded that most of the external suppliers of the e-bicycles’ components are located in three regions in China, namely, the Changzhou and Wuxi region, the Zhejiang and Taizhou region and Tianjin region. All of these regions are in close proximity to our Changzhou headquarters and our Tianjin factories. As a result, we can purchase the key components of new standards e-bicycles from external suppliers in Tianjin and Jiangsu. We usually purchase our components on an order basis and we will consider entering into long-term agreements with the suppliers guaranteeing a regular supply of those components in the future if necessary.

 

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On July 30, 2019, we established the VIE as a holding and management company, holding 80.87% of the equity of Hengmao Power Battery (the remaining equity being owned by two institutional investors) and 100% of the equity of Yizhiying IoT. On September 6, 2019, for the purpose of expanding our sales channels and strengthening the capabilities in research and development in developing e-bicycles, we decided to cooperate with Jiangsu Cenbird. Yuxing Liu, the general manager and former shareholder of Jiangsu Cenbird, signed the equity transfer agreement with the VIE on September 6, 2019, which stipulated that Yuxing Liu would transfer 51% of his equity interest of Jiangsu Cenbird to the VIE. Through the VIE, we invested RMB5.1 million, accounting for 51% of the equity interest of Jiangsu Cenbird. Another shareholder of Jiangsu Cenbird, Yan Fang, also invested RMB4.9 million, accounting for 49% of the equity interest of Jiangsu Cenbird. Yan Fang’s family owns Changzhou Cenbird Electric Bicycle Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (“Changzhou Cenbird”), an entity with almost 20 years of experience manufacturing non-new standards e-bicycles, which exports its products to many countries, including the United States. Changzhou Cenbird’s e-scooter, a commuter vehicle in San Francisco since 2016, was jointly developed with Ojo Electric LLC (formerly known as eUrban LLC), a U.S. based company. Through this transaction, we have the right to use the “Cenbird” trademark, a well-known brand of e-bicycles in Jiangsu Province; e-bicycle design and sale capabilities; and sales channels through which we may export products to the potential customers and existing customers from United States, Brazil, Israel and Southeast Asia in the future.

 

To further complete our e-bicycle product and services ecosystem, we began developing our own smart charging piles under the brand named “Hengdian” in November 2018. We finished designing the smart charging piles in August 2019 and sent the prototype to Wuxi Institute for Product Quality Inspection for testing. In December 2019, we received a certificate of quality control issued by the Wuxi Institute for Product Quality Inspection for our smart charging piles. Our smart charging pile business includes hardware provision to franchisees with whom we enter into co-investment and income-sharing arrangements, and self-operation. Our smart charging piles satisfy the highest electric spark fire protection standards that are obtainable in the PRC, IoT smart control capability, which allows us to remotely monitor the charging status of each port, and a broad voltage range, and can be used to charge e-bicycles, mobile phones and laptops. The M version of our smart charging piles, which is currently under research and development, will be portable and can be used both at fixed locations like park and on long-distance coaches and tour buses. Our smart charging piles can also serve as advertising terminals, which increases their value-adding potential to our company.

 

On March 12, 2021, the VIE entered into the Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement with Benlin Huang, an individual, and Tianjin Jiahao, pursuant to which the VIE agreed to purchase the Target Assets for the Company’s future production and business development, for an aggregate purchase price of US$10,164,204, of which US$2,800,000 was paid as a deposit by EZGO in cash on March 15, 2021, with the remaining RMB50,000,000 (approximately US$7,364,204) to be paid upon the satisfaction of the closing conditions in order to complete of the acquisition, including Benlin Huang’s exclusive ownership of the Target Assets, our further due diligence of Tianjin Jiahao’s historical material indebtedness and the good and marketable title of the Target Assets and the renewal of Tianjin Jiahao’s business scope on its business certificate. On April 2, 2021, the VIE received a written Notice of Assignment, pursuant to which Benlin Huang assigned and transferred all of his rights, titles and obligations under the Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement to Shanghai Mingli.

 

On April 19, 2021, the VIE entered into the Shares Purchase Agreement with Shanghai Mingli and Tianjin Jiahao, pursuant to which the VIE obtained the right to purchase 100% of the outstanding shares of Shanghai Mingli, the owner of the title of the Target Assets. RMB15,000,000 (approximately US$2,209,261) of the cash consideration was paid on April 20, 2021 pursuant to the Shares Purchase Agreement, with the remaining RMB35,000,000 (approximately US$5,154,943) to be paid upon closing, which is subject to the closing conditions including the completion of the transfer of the title of the Target Assets and the registration of the acquisition with PRC governmental authorities.

 

The Asset Purchase Arrangement Agreement and Shares Purchase Agreement contain customary representations and warranties from the selling parties and the VIE. We are entitled to indemnification for breaches by the selling parties of its representations and warranties.

 

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On June 28, 2021, the acquisition of Tianjin Jiahao and the Target Assets was completed and Tianjin Jiahao became the VIE’s wholly owned subsidiary. With the completion of this acquisition, we have more than 35,000 square meters of factory land, including two factory buildings and an administration building, and a construction area of approximately 11,000 square meters. We also have the flexibility to construct an additional 40,000 square meters of production factory buildings on this land, located in the Beijing-Tianjin Science and Technology Valley in the Wuqing District of Tianjin, which is a part of China’s Bicycle Kingdom Industrial Zone. The estimated production capacity of the existing factory buildings purchased in this transaction is 100,000 units of two-wheeled e-bicycles. The estimated production capacity of the factory building that may be built on the remaining land purchased is anticipated to be approximately 500,000 units of two-wheeled e-bicycles. As of the date of this annual report, our current production capacity at our leased factory in Nancai Town of Tianjin is nearly 300,000 e-bicycles, with actual capacity of 150,000 e-bicycles due to limited turnover space. This acquisition of the Target Assets enables us to significantly ramp production of the e-bicycles following our completion of the national first-class electric motorcycle qualification application.

 

Competitive Strengths

 

We believe that the following strengths contribute to our success and are the differentiating factors that set us apart from our peers:

 

 

A Deep Understanding of the Industry. Our team has been working on the two-wheeled and three-wheeled e-bicycle industry for almost 20 years. Meanwhile, our research and development department has recruited a number of professionals with strong industry background and research experience, who also have the access to know the latest market needs of short-distance transportation and the ability to develop suitable products serving the demands in a fast fashion.

 

 

Cost-effective E-bicycles. We have upgraded our production equipment and we have been able to manufacture more cost-effective products. After purchasing new factory and production line, our e-bicycle annual production capacity increases from 300,000 to 500,000 units, and the product quality remains consistent. Due to the boost of production efficiency, we expanded our production scale and hence the production cost decreased, which enables us to provide more cost-effective products.

 

  Wide Distribution Network. We maintain a wide distribution network which allows us to sell our products both domestically and internationally. With the help of our domestic distributors, we are able to sell our products in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration area, the Yangtze River Delta metropolitan area, the Zhujiang River Delta metropolitan area and several inland central cities. We plan to export products to potential customers and existing customers from United States, Brazil, Israel and Southeast Asia in the future.

 

Accumulated Industry Resources

 

Our management and key personnel have several years of experience in the lithium battery industry, the e-bicycle industry and the e-commerce industry, which we believe will boost our marketing. For example, Dr. Henglong Chen, one of the early founders of Hengmao Battery, has extensive experience in lithium battery industry. Mr. Yuxing Liu, the General Manager of Jiangsu Cenbird, entered into the e-bicycle industry in 1999 and created the brand of Cenbird e-bicycle in December 2000. Mr. Huiyan Xie, the General Manager of Tianjin Dilang, has over ten years’ industry experiences in e-bicycle manufacturing and marketing. Mr. Xiaosong Qin, our executive vice president since August 2020, has extensive experience both in business and investment management. He has a master’s of business administration from Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University. He currently resides in the United States and is responsible for our business development in North America and Latin America.

 

In addition, we have developed a strategic alliance with the Jiangsu Institute of Research of Dalian University of Technology since July 2019. Pursuant to our agreement, the research institute will provide us with personnel training, technologies sharing and technical supports, helping to expedite our long-term development plans.

 

Advanced Operations Model

 

One of our competitive advantages, we believe, lies in our advanced operations model. We manage our costs and expenses through outsourcing. Through our smart charging piles, we expect to be able to acquire information about customers and to promote our products and services. We also promote our products and services through the advertisement on WeChat applet for our smart charging piles, sell products through social media and e-commerce platforms (including TikTok and Taobao Live) and apply O2O (“online to offline”) and B2B2C (“business to business to consumer”) marketing models. According to our internal estimates, these marketing models, compared with having offline stores only, has saved us more than 5% of sales expenses and have increased our margins. In addition, our experienced information technology team has built a basic IoT platform that we believe puts us ahead of our competitors with no IoT platform for their products and/or services.

 

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Quality Products and Services

 

We seek to innovate and enhance our existing mature e-bicycle models so that we can offer competitive pricings. In our manufacturing processes of e-bicycles, we aim to control cost while maintaining quality, through the application of lean production methods and Total Quality Management practices.

 

Consistent with our efforts to provide high-quality products, we strive to provide high-quality services. We aim to help satisfying customers’ long term, rather merely serving their short-term needs. This approach has guided the development of our online 4S services for quick-response maintenance, and our design of high-endurance batteries for takeaway food deliverymen.

 

We use A-level battery cells to pack our batteries, and our battery management system has evolved as we accumulate technology improvements and experience. As a result, our self-produced batteries have approximately an average of 10% longer usage duration than the national standards for lithium batteries that took effect in July 2019 (GB T36972-2018).

 

Our Strategies

 

We expect that in the next five years (2023-2027), we will gradually build ourselves into a company focusing on the design, research and development, production, manufacturing and sales services of e-bicycles, and achieve a market share of more than 1% in the e-bicycle industry in mainland China. At the same time, we will layout the global e-bicycle market, and strive to achieve a global sales of more than 500,000 units by 2027. In the mainland China market, we have established sales and service networks based on the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration, the Yangtze River Delta metropolitan area, the Pearl River Delta metropolitan area, and inland central cities such as Chengdu, Xi’an, and Zhengzhou. We also built e-bicycles charging networks with regional dealers. Relying on the strategy of “follow up, innovation and moderate leadership” and leveraging resource sharing and cost leadership, we will integrate high-quality resources by acquisitions in our industry, and gradually established the “independent innovation product system” and “high-quality supply chain service system”.

 

We focus on the design, research and development, production and manufacturing of e-bicycles, medium and high speed e-motorcycles and e-scooters. We have gradually built an intelligent short-distance transportation network strategy that integrates sales of e-bicycle, charging and leasing of lithium battery, and operation and maintenance services of e-bicycles, so as to provide comprehensive e-bicycle and lithium battery products and services for short-distance travellers. We are building an ecological chain from design, development, production, sales, leasing and operation of both e-bicycles and lithium battery, to charging and replacement services. Our vision is to become a leading short-distance travel solution provider and new energy system operator in China.

 

Our Products and Services

 

Our product portfolio includes lithium batteries, Dilang-brand and Cenbird-brand e-bicycles and e-tricycles, EZGO-brand e-bicycles, and Hengdian-brand smart charging piles. We (i) design, manufacture, rent and sell e-bicycles and e-tricycles; (ii) rent and sell lithium batteries; and (iii) sell, franchise, and operate smart charging piles for e-bicycles and other electronic devices. We also provide after-sales services for our e-bicycles, including technical support, parts supply and sales of peripheral products and derivatives, including raincoats, helmets, and mobile phone brackets.

 

Batteries

 

In December 2018, we ceased battery cell manufacture, although we still engage in battery cell trading. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, we entered into a lithium battery sales contract with downstream customers first, and then purchased from a suitable upstream supplier, and resold the batteries to the downstream customers. In battery trading, we provide storage and bear the risk of inventory for several months. All the quality assurance risks are borne by the suppliers. We are able to quickly match buyers and sellers leveraging our resources in the industry accumulated over the years of our manufacturing and trading lithium batteries, including industry information, business relationship and industry reputation.

 

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At the same time, we pack, rent and sell batteries. If a large number of battery packs are needed, we will either purchase the battery cells and assemble the batteries by ourselves or outsource to third-party manufacturers.

 

Our battery cells trading and battery packs sales for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022 were approximately $3.1 million, $4.3 million and $7.0 million, respectively, mainly from our existing trade partnerships. In the future, we will continue to engage in trading business, especially those that could use our battery packing capabilities and our special e-bicycle battery models such as our 60V and 48V batteries.

 

Below are some of our bicycle battery models such as our 60V and 48V batteries:

 

 

 

48V24A Lithium Battery

 

 

 

60V20Ah Lithium Battery

 

 

 

72V60Ah Lithium Battery

 

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Dilang E-Bicycles

 

Dilang-brand e-bicycles include fourteen models of new standards e-bicycles with 3C certification, three of which are included in the current Beijing catalogue. We also produce urban-style e-tricycles under the Dilang brand which are not required to hold any 3C certification. For the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, 2021 and 2022, we had revenue from sales of Dilang brand e-bicycle of $4.9 million, $11.1 million and $4.3 million, respectively. In order to recover our sales post COVID-19, we have enhanced our supply chain and reinforced sales promotions, including sending direct mail advertising brochure to our customers and advertising our products in local agent stores. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, Tianjin Dilang had sold approximately 23,585 units of e-bicycle and reached the revenue of approximately RMB27,945,675 (approximately $4.3 million). Tianjin Dilang was awarded “Competitive Brand in Electric Bicycle Industry in 2020” in China by cebike.com.

 

Below are some of Dilang brand’s e-bicycles and urban-style e-tricycles:

 

TDT001Z:   TDT002Z:
     
 
     
TDT003Z:   TDT004Z:
     
 
TDT005Z:   TDR66Z:
     
 

 

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TDT01Z   TDT03Z
     
 
     
Urban e-tricycle: A6   Urban e-tricycle: X7
     
 
Urban e-tricycle: Jelly Bean   D1
     
 

 

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