(Yicai Global) Feb. 19 -- Baidu decided to enter the auto manufacturing business because many traditional carmakers are relatively conservative, according to the founder of the Chinese search engine giant.
Many established automakers are reluctant to try new technologies, Li said on an earnings conference call yesterday, so Baidu chose to be proactive and make electric vehicles with edge-cutting technologies.
The Beijing-based company and Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group announced early last month that they will form a joint venture to make smart electric vehicles by pooling Baidu’s intelligent driving capabilities and Geely’s manufacturing expertise.
“Our partnership with Geely is based on the belief that end-to-end integration with hardware and software will provide the best experience for autonomous driving or smart EVs,” Li, who is also chairman and chief executive of Baidu, said on the call, adding that Baidu’s vehicle will be “the best car on the marketplace.
“It usually takes around three years from the beginning to the launch of a new EV model and we try to do the same for this new venture,” Li said.
The JV’s first chief executive and brand have been decided, Li said. Xia Yiping, co-founder and former chief technology officer of bike-sharing platform Mobike has been tapped to fill the CEO role, financial we-media platform ChinaIPO reported today, citing two insiders.
Baidu declined to comment, and a spokesman for Hangzhou-based Geely said the company was not aware of the appointment.
Editor: Peter Thomas