China’s Baidu said to plan smart EV firm, to make cars at Geely plant

Photographer: Bloomberg

China’s Baidu Inc plans to form a company to make smart electric vehicles (EV), two sources familiar with the matter said, with manufacturing to be carried out at plants owned by automaker Geely.

Baidu, the leading search engine company in China, will take a majority stake and absolute voting power in the new company.

The venture will revamp some of Geely‘s existing car manufacturing facilities to make the vehicles, with in-car software input from Baidu and engineering know-how from Geely, sources told Reuters.

The companies are in talks to use Geely‘s EV-focused platform, Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), for future product development, one of the sources, who declined to be identified as the plan was private, said.

Baidu, which is developing autonomous driving technology and internet connectivity infrastructure, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Geely declined to comment.

Baidu‘s Nasdaq-listed shares jumped more than 4% after Reuters reported the plan.

Reuters had already reported last month that Baidu was contemplating making its own EVs and had held talks with Geely, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd (GAC) and China FAW Group Corp Ltd’s Hongqi on a possible venture.

Baidu‘s rival Alibaba has formed an EV joint venture with China’s biggest automaker SAIC Motor Corp while China’s Didi Chuxing is making EVs designed for ride hailing services with BYD. Cheered by Tesla Inc’s success in commercialisation of EVs, internet giants including Tencent Holdings Ltd, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc, have also developed auto-related technology or invested in smart-car startups. People familiar with the matter said last month Apple is pushing to design an electric vehicle and batteries, aiming at a possible 2024 launch.

Hangzhou-based Geely, China’s highest-profile automaker due to group investments in Volvo Cars, Daimler AG and Malaysia’s Proton, is expanding EV production. Shares of its main listed company, Geely Automobile, which aims to sell 1.53 million vehicles this year, jumped over 10% on Friday.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.