“If you are buying a car, you’re not just buying a vehicle. You’re buying a ticket to a new lifestyle.”

That’s what William Li, chief executive of Chinese electric-car maker Nio Inc.

NIO, +6.94%

said in an interview broadcast Sunday on “60 Minutes.

Li told CBS correspondent Holly Williams that while his company — dubbed by some the Tesla of China — sells luxury cars, he thinks of it more of a lifestyle company, with the cars serving as a status symbol for a growing middle and upper class in China.

To that extent, Li has opened a number of so-called Nio Houses in China — exclusive clubhouses for Nio owners only. Aside from socializing, members can hold business meetings and take classes in subjects such as flower arranging and espresso making, “60 Minutes” reported.

Electric-car sales are taking off in China, and Nio is seen as a potential competitor to Tesla Inc.

TSLA, +1.19%

 . Its cars currently sell for about $60,000 in China, about half of what an imported Tesla costs.

In December, Nio announced an electric compact SUV, with the first deliveries scheduled for June. At that time, the company said it planned to open about 70 Nio House in 2019.

Nio went public on the New York Stock Exchange in September, and its ADRs have risen nearly 24% since, including a 7% gain Friday as a teaser of the “60 Minutes” report was released. Searches for Nio’s stock quote shot up Sunday evening on MarketWatch immediately after the “60 Minutes” report aired.

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