SAIC and Alibaba initiate $161m fund for ‘Internet cars’
SAIC Motors and Alibaba Group will jointly set up a 1-billion-yuan ($161.11 million) Internet car fund as they aspire to roll out China’s first “car on the Internet” in 2016.
The announcement was jointly made by the two companies on March 12 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and marks a substantial step forward after the two companies signed a cooperation agreement on developing Internet cars last year.
SAIC and Alibaba depict a promising brand-new car lifestyle with the ability to be connected to the Internet. They said that the newly-established fund will fuel a joint-venture company and the construction of a R&D and operation platform for Internet cars.
Jing Lei, chief engineer of SAIC, said the Internet will become a must-have feature of future cars and will help the user struggle through the “painful moments” of owning a car as well as create “sweet moments” in travel.
Wang Jian, Alibaba’s chief technology officer, said Internet cars will improve people-to-car communication and gradually expand their functions to the areas of car-to-car, car-to-road, and car-to-infrastructure communication. Four-dimensional interaction among people, cars, roads and infrastructure is a big trend which will lay a foundation for improving self-driving car technologies, he said.
SAIC has China’s largest auto-user base and is powerful and innovative in the fields of car assembling, powertrain, new energy technology, automotive electronics and automotive architecture. The firm also has extensive experience in R&D and operation, telematics service and Internet of vehicles application, and owns a complete production chain for car sales, services, logistics and finance.
Alibaba is known for its independently-developed Yun OS and owns China’s largest cloud computing platform. It has developed a vast Internet content and services ecosystem and has mastered core technologies and service skills in fields like e-commerce, finance, map navigation and communications.