Chinese search engine firm Baidu plans to build electric vehicles at Geely plant, report says


BEIJING — Baidu plans to set up a company to manufacture smart electric vehicles, two sources familiar with the matter said, with manufacturing to be carried out at factories owned by automaker Geely.

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

The company will revamp some of Geely’s existing automotive manufacturing facilities to make the vehicles, with in-vehicle software from Baidu and engineering from Geely, sources told Reuters.

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

Baidu, which develops self-driving technology and internet connectivity infrastructure, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Geely declined to comment.

Nasdaq-listed shares of Baidu jumped more than 4% after Reuters announced the plan.

Reuters had previously reported last month that Baidu was considering making its own electric vehicles and held talks with Geely, Guangzhou Automobile Group and China FAW Group’s Hongqi about a possible venture.

Baidu’s rival Alibaba has formed an electric vehicle joint venture with China’s biggest automaker, SAIC Motor Corp., while China’s Didi Chuxing makes electric vehicles designed for transport services with BYD.

Encouraged by Tesla Inc.’s success in bringing electric vehicles to market, internet giants including Tencent Holdings, Amazon Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have also developed automotive-related technologies or invested in technology startups. smart cars.

People familiar with the matter said last month that Apple was working to design an electric vehicle and batteries, with the aim of a possible launch in 2024.

Hangzhou-based Geely, China’s most prominent automaker thanks to the group’s investments in Volvo Cars, Daimler and Proton in Malaysia, is expanding its production of electric vehicles. Its main listed company, Geely Automobile, aims to sell 1.53 million vehicles this year.

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