Baidu-Geely Joint Venture Aims $7.7B Investment In Smart Car

  • China’s internet giant, Baidu Inc BIDU and automotive company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s GELYF joint venture, Jidu Auto, is planning to spend $7.7 billion (50 billion yuan) on smart-car technology development over the next five years, Bloomberg reports.
  • Baidu and Geely own 55% and 45% stake in the company, respectively. Jidu aims to hire between 2,500 and 3,000 staff, including 500 software engineers, over the next two to three years. Jidu will launch its branding in the third quarter of 2021.
  • Jidu targets an electric vehicle (EV) debut within three years with robotic looks to tap the young client base. Jidu then aims to release a new model every year or 18 months.
  • Jidu plans to utilize Baidu-designed Kunlun chip in its forthcoming car models, Reuters reports. It will also use Geely’s open-source EV platform to develop cars. Jidu plans to manufacture vehicles in Hangzhou Bay in China’s eastern city of Ningbo, where Geely has multiple car plants. 
  • Jidu JV is looking for a direct sale model without dealerships.
  • Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp XIACF XIACY recently announced a $10 billion EV investment. Baidu also remains invested in self-driving technology for several years, including the Geely partnership.
  • Geely’s partnerships range from Baidu to Apple Inc’s AAPL Taiwanese manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Co Ltd FXCOFTencent Holdings Ltd TCEHY, and electric-car upstart Faraday Future in 2021.
  • Geely also announced plans for a new brand of electric car called Zeekr to take on the likes of Tesla Inc TSLA.
  • Baidu’s autonomous-driving platform, Apollo can be a boost to Geely’s smart EV development prospects. The alliance can drive Baidu’s position versus internet firms like Tencent and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.
  • Price action: BIDU shares traded higher by 0.90% at $216.5 in the premarket session on the last check Friday
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