Alibaba hopes to roll net-connected car out of the cave

SAIC Motor j/v to smarten China's cars


China's Alibaba and SAIC Motor Corp have decided the country needs to get its cars connected to the Internet, and have inked a $US160 million deal to get the ball wheels rolling.

According to Reuters, the joint venture between the two will be worth a billion yuan, and targets 2016 as the launch date for the Middle Kingdom's first 'net-connected auto.

Another Chinese giant, search company Baidu, is already working with BMW on vehicle automation projects.

Alibaba told Reuters it's working on “developing new technologies and services using cloud computing” under the SAIC venture.

The Straits Times says the car will also include “e-commerce, digital entertainment, maps and communications”.

SAIC Motor partners with General Motors on telematics projects, and the company also has a joint venture with Volkswagen. Such arrangements are normal costs of doing business in China, which far prefers such partnerships than straight imports, since they provide a boost to local capabilities. ®

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