BEIJING – Baidu’s electric vehicle (EV) arm Jidu Auto said on Wednesday that it had raised nearly $400 million from Baidu and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in a fresh funding round.
Jidu, an EV venture between China’s search engine company Baidu and Chinese automaker Geely, said in a statement that it would deliver its mass-produced “robot” cars in 2023.
There were no external investors participating in the round. The company did not provide any details on its valuation.
Jidu CEO Xia Yiping told Reuters in April the company would raise a total of 50 billion yuan ($7.90 billion) to develop and make “robot” smart cars over the next five years, adding the financing would come from Baidu and other investors.
Jidu, launched a year ago, is Baidu’s latest effort to leverage its artificial intelligence expertise for car-making.
Baidu also operates an autonomous driving unit under the group’s umbrella called Apollo.
Technology companies around the world from Sony to Xiaomi Corp are trying to make smart cars, building on Tesla Inc’s success in commercializing EVs.
IPhone maker Apple Inc, South Korea’s LG Electronics and Taiwan’s Foxconn, among others, have also joined the growing list of major technology companies exploring automotive opportunities.
($1 = 6.3257 Chinese yuan)