Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc announced on Monday that it would establish an intelligent car company in partnership with mainland auto firm Geely, a step which has sparked interests and skepticism among Chinese netizens and experts. Some questioned the companies’ abilities after a recent track record of failure, with others saying the new partnership is a good match.
According to a statement from Baidu, it will be in charge of the car of design, research and development, production as well as sales services. Baidu said it will make use of its “artificial intelligence and technology DNA” in producing new vehicle models, while banking on its Apollo autonomous driving systems.
The new company will operate independently from its parent company, Baidu said, although it will empower the new company with all Baidu’s leading technologies including Baidu Map and Baidu IOV OS.
Besides, Baidu and Geely announced they will work closely in the production of intelligent cars based on Geely’s recent Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) research, the world’s first open-source electrical vehicle platform.
Baidu in recent years has withdrawn from a number of businesses including tourism and e-commerce, and has been accused of lagging behind other Chinese Internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent.
However, on China’s leading social network platform Weibo, many netizens expressed doubts as to whether Baidu will be successful this time in tapping the smart car industry. One netizen said that Baidu wouldn’t be the way it is now if it has executive forces and abilities to complete such tasks (as launching intelligent cars), another also doubted Baidu’s ability to win in the vehicle sector stating that it “failed in many projects” already.
However, independent tech analyst Liu Dingding said that he is in general optimistic about the overall prospects of Baidu’s intelligent car strategy.
“Time has arrived when the electric cars have received by policy and market support. For Baidu, it has advantages in already collected massive volumes of user data which may be applied in self-driving technologies. For Geely, it has what I think is China’s best electric vehicle manufacturing platform. This gives them at least a good start and strong basis in launching intelligent cars,” Liu told the Global Times.
Liu said it is hard to say whether Baidu and Geely, as many electric car companies have failed in China. He also predicted that Baidu will put its focus on making self-driving cars in the long-term.