Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing operator, has set up a joint venture with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co, a unit of BAIC, to work on new-energy vehicle and artificial intelligence projects.
The joint venture, BAIC-Xiaoju New Energy Auto Technology Co, will seek to develop “next-generation connected-car systems”, Didi announced on Monday, Reuters reports.
It marks the first partnership between Didi and state-owned BAIC, which wants to stop selling gas-driven car models by 2025 as China shifts the industry toward new-energy vehicles.
The cooperation comes as China’s market for new-energy vehicles (NEVs), a category comprising electric battery cars and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, is growing rapidly even as the country’s wider auto market cools.
In 2018, car sales in China hit reverse for the first time since the 1990s. But NEV sales were a bright spot, jumping 61.7 percent to 1.3 million units, according to an industry association.
NEV sales in China will hit 1.6 million this year, the industry body estimates.
Didi, whose backers include Uber, Apple and SoftBank, is reshuffling its domestic business as it expands globally with new services in South America and Australia.
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