Chinese car makers follow in Google's footsteps

Chinese firm joins connected car race

Chinese car maker SAIC Motor Corp has partnered with e-commerce firm Alibaba in a project worth $160 million to develop Internet connected cars.

Aiming to roll out their first product in 2016, the partnership will see the companies contributing 50 per cent each to the project costs. The venture, SAIC said in a statement, will stay open to future investors.

Alibaba added the two firms will focus on developing new services and technologies using cloud computing.

Alibaba is not the first Chinese Internet firm to have joined the connected car boom. Internet giant Baidu, which owns China’s most popular search engine, joined forces with multiple car makers, including German BMW in developing technologies for automated and autonomous driving.

Baidu announced it was working on its own driverless car concept in July last year; closely following in the footsteps of US web giant Google.

Earlier this year, rumours appeared saying that Apple, too, is working on an autonomous car and is trying to pouch car engineers from top car firms including electric vehicle pioneer Tesla Motors.

SAIC shares rose 9.8 per cent to a more than two-month high on news of the partnership, before shedding some of the gains to close up 4.8 per cent.


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