The cooperation between Baidu and Geely represents the latest Chinese conglomerate venturing into the booming electric vehicle market, after shopping giant Alibaba and ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing.
The electric vehicle manufacturing also represents an expansion of Baidu’s ambition to branch out into the transportation sector, and Baidu has spent years working on autonomous technology, the leading Chinese autonomous vehicle manufacturer.
Baidu is likely to form a new joint venture with Geely for the electric car industry’s efforts, with Baidu focusing on the software development of the vehicle, while Geely focusing on hardware and gear.
After the huge success of Tesla, internet giants, including Tencent, Alphabet, and Amazon have either developed car-related technologies or invested in smart car startups.
Baidu and Geely are in talks to use Geely’s scalable electric vehicle platform that the company announced late last year. But Baidu will hold a majority stake in the new company, thus controlling its direction.
The Chinese government has spent years focusing its major corporations on developing green technology in an effort to defeat other global powers.
Beijing hinted that the ban on gas-powered cars had been on the horizon since 2017, before it put in place the policy late last year, and announced a generous subsidy policy for clean cars, leading to a stunning boom in electric car startups.
The country’s big tech companies spent the time searching for the best way to get to the market, as Alibaba funded the company Emerging XPeng, which topped Newspaper headlines for the first time by copying Tesla’s designs.
Tencent supported Nio, It is one of the earliest and largest electric vehicle manufacturers in China.
The country’s major tech companies have recently moved more pragmatically Alibaba has formed an electric vehicle joint venture with SAIC, which is the largest automaker in China.
Didi Chuxing is working with Chinese auto giant BYD to manufacture electric vehicles for ride-sharing.
Baidu’s partnership with Geely is the latest example of this focused effort. Geely itself has big ambitions.
Geely owns the Volvo brand and has a partnership with Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, and Malaysian Proton, and is present in many other fields, such as: passenger drones, high-speed rail and the newly proposed satellite network.