Date
24 November 2017
Tesla is working with China Unicom to integrate internet technology into the company's vehicles. Photo: Bloomberg
Tesla is working with China Unicom to integrate internet technology into the company's vehicles. Photo: Bloomberg

SAIC, Alibaba race for pole position on internet cars

You’ve heard of the Internet of Things. Now Shanghai-based automaker SAIC Motor Corp. and Alibaba are getting ready to roll with the Internet of Vehicles, an idea that integrates internet technology with motoring. SAIC signed a deal with internet giant Alibaba Group Wednesday to develop an “internet car” and other applications.

SAIC will integrate Alibaba’s Yun OS operating system as well as its mapping and music services into the carmaker’s future products, according to Sina tech news portal. 

The program works like this: buyers make down payments for the vehicles through their Yu’E Bao accounts, where the cash stays for three months before it’s transferred to the carmakers. The yields generated from the parked cash over that time are rerouted back to the buyers.

Major carmakers and internet companies have all been trying to tap into the Internet of Vehicles concept. Tech firms, of course, are aware that cars are the next battlefield after the smartphone and tablet wars, so it is not hard to understand why Google, Alibaba and even Xiaomi are getting into this fast lane.

Then there is mobile carrier China Unicom which has been working with major domestic carmakers such as Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to incorporate 3G telecommunications services into their products. China Unicom has also teamed up with US premium carmaker Tesla since April to get moving down the same track.

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SK

EJ Insight writer

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