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Geely, Baidu announce electric vehicle venture

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The Taipei Times is reporting that Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group (吉利控股集團) will form an electric-vehicle venture with tech giant Baidu Inc (百度), adding to a flurry of corporate tie-ups in the industry to share soaring technology development costs.

Geely, which also has separate electric-vehicle brands, yesterday said the venture with Baidu would focus on intelligent and connected vehicles. Global and Chinese automakers have launched partnerships to share the multibillion-dollar costs of developing electric vehicles for China under government pressure to meet sales quotas.

China is the world’s biggest market for the technology, accounting for about half of global sales. The Chinese Communist Party spent billions of dollars on subsidies in an attempt to take an early lead in the industry. It is shifting the burden to manufacturers by requiring them to earn credits from selling electric vehicles or face penalties that have yet to be announced.

Privately held Geely, best known abroad as the owner of Sweden’s Volvo Cars Corp, is one of China’s biggest independent automakers. Its brands include Geely, Lynk & Co, Geometry and Polestar, all of which sell electric vehicles.

Baidu operates China’s most popular Internet search engine. It is regarded as one of the world’s leading developers of automated driving technology.

Separately, China’s electric-vehicle maker Nio Inc (蔚來汽車), which competes with conventional premium automakers including Daimler AG and BMW AG, might make mass-market products under another marque, chief executive William Li (李斌) said.

“As EV [electric vehicle] technologies advance and battery cost lowers, it is possible that we may enter the massive market, but definitely not with Nio brand,” Li told reporters on Sunday.

Nio, which also competes with Tesla Inc in China, on Saturday launched its first sedan model as it eyes a greater share of the world’s largest auto market.

Nio delivered 43,728 vehicles last year and has a market capitalization of more than US$92 billion, surpassing conventional automakers Daimler and General Motors Co.

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