(Yicai Global) March 6 -- Baidu Inc. has withdrawn its suit against Beijing Jingchi Technology Co., but not against its founder Wang Jin, and the two parties are still in litigation, Sina Technology quoted representatives from the two companies as saying yesterday.
Wang, who was previously senior vice president of Baidu and general manager of its self-driving division, formed Jingchi last April. Baidu brought suit against Wang and Jingchi for infringing its trade secrets with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court in December, making it the first unmanned driving-related case in China.
Wang, Jingchi's ex-chief executive, recently left the company. Han Xu, its former chief technology officer, has taken over the helm. Jingchi has joined Baidu's open self-driving platform Apollo as a partner.
Wang has left Jingchi and will not be involved in or interfere in its business, directly or indirectly, Han said when asked whether Wang will keep his grip on Jingchi as an adviser after stepping down. Han was previously chief scientist of Baidu's autonomous driving division.
Though people speculate that Wang's departure may relate to the lawsuit, Jingchi said family reasons prompted it, adding only that Wang had left the company and its other affairs will remain unaffected.
Jingchi has grown rapidly, breaking several previous records in the unmanned driving sector. It finished its first unmanned driving test in a closed site in less than five weeks and became the 34th company to obtain a license to test autonomous vehicles in California. It completed its self-driving test on a public road in Sunnyvale, California just 81 days after its founding. Jingchi plans to produce 500 to 1,000 driverless cars per year starting from this year's first quarter and mass produce such vehicles by around June 2020.
Chinese media speculate that Baidu has Jingchi in its sights because its timetable for mass production has pressured the internet heavyweight, since many of its employees have left it to start their own businesses. Baidu will realize its driverless car mass production plan in 2020 ahead of schedule, Robin Li, the firm's founder and chief executive, said at the 2017 Baidu World Technology Conference last year.