China look for giant Baidu considers earning very own electric autos

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BEIJING — China’s Baidu Inc is thinking about earning its very own electric powered cars and has held talks with automakers about the chance, a few folks with understanding of the matter stated, the most current shift in a race between tech corporations to establish clever vehicles.

The lookup-motor chief, which also develops autonomous driving technological innovation and web connectivity infrastructure, is looking at contract manufacturing, a single of the persons mentioned, or making a majority-owned venture with automakers.

The initiative would be a action up from world-wide-web peers these types of as Tencent Holdings Ltd, Inc and Alphabet Inc, which have also formulated car-connected technology or invested in wise-auto startups.

Baidu has held preliminary talks – with no reaching any decisions – with automakers including Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, Guangzhou Car Team Co Ltd (GAC) and China FAW Team Corp Ltd’s Hongqi, on a achievable enterprise, the people mentioned.

They declined to be recognized as the talks are personal.

Baidu declined to remark. GAC explained it has a strategic partnership with Baidu and that any more cooperation was subject matter to discussion. Geely mentioned it was not common with the issue. FAW did not reply to a ask for for comment.

Baidu founded autonomous driving device Apollo in 2017. The unit generally supplies technologies driven by synthetic intelligence and perform with automakers this sort of as Geely, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co.

Baidu operates autonomous taxi services Go Robotaxi with basic safety motorists on board in Beijing, Changsha and Cangzhou, and strategies to grow to 30 cities in a few many years. It received acceptance final 7 days to exam 5 autos in Beijing without the need of safety motorists.

Its talks pertaining to manufacturing occur following Didi Chuxing previous month introduced a intent-developed van for trip-hailing providers with automaker BYD Co Ltd. Meanwhile, tech huge Sony Corp in January unveiled an electric strategy car with self-driving features.

Constructing autos would represent a spectacular enhancement in Baidu’s push to diversify earnings streams as expansion plateaus in its core research company, in which earnings grew just 2% past yr.

Baidu’s Nasdaq-stated shares acquired a 5% raise in premarket investing. Shares of Geely’s Hong-Kong-shown subsidiary, Geely Auto Holdings, had been up as a lot as 5% in the afternoon. Shares of GAC rose about 1%.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Yilei Sunshine in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai Enhancing by Christopher Cushing, Robert Birsel)

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