China’s search engine giant Baidu Inc said on Monday it will set up a company to partner with car maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to make smart electric vehicles (EV), the latest move by a tech company in the fast-evolving sector.
Baidu, which has been developing autonomous driving technology and Internet connectivity infrastructure, said the new EV company will count on Baidu’s intelligent driving capabilities and Geely’s car manufacturing expertise.
Geely will also be a strategic investor in the new company, which will be an independent subsidiary of Baidu, Baidu said in the statement.
Reuters reported Baidu’s plan to form a smart EV company with the help of Geely last week. Sources told Reuters Baidu would hold a majority stake and absolute voting power in the new firm and that Geely would have a minority stake.
Geely said in a separate statement on Monday the collaboration will be based on Geely’s EV-focused platform, Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).
Baidu’s move comes as many tech companies around the world are racing to develop smart cars, after Tesla Inc’s success in commercialising EVs.
Apple is pushing to design an electric vehicle and batteries, aiming at a possible 2024 launch, sources told Reuters last month.