The partnership between Baidu and Geely is the latest one in Chinese EV market

Several media including BBC reported that Baidu and Geely become a partner to manufacturer smart electric vehicles.

China’s search engine Baidu has announced it will partner with carmaker Geely to make smart electric vehicles. Baidu will provide “intelligent driving capabilities”, while Geely will offer design and manufacturing expertise. Geely is one of China’s largest carmakers, and also owns Volvo and a stake in Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler. The two companies will be competing not just with Elon Musk’s Tesla, but also with several Chinese competitors.

Baidu established its autonomous driving unit Apollo in 2017. It mainly supplies technology powered by artificial intelligence and works with a number of international and Chinese carmakers. China is the world’s leading market for electric vehicles. According to the International Energy Agency, there were 7.2 million electric cars on the road globally by 2019, with 47% of them in China. Data provider S&P Platts estimates that “new energy vehicles” will account for 20% of total new car sales in China by 2025. “China has become the world’s largest market for EVs, and we are seeing EV consumers demanding next generation vehicles to be more intelligent,” Mr Li said.

Who is Baidu?

Based on its homepage, we can see the company overview of Baidu as follows.

The booming Internet in China

You don’t need us to tell you that China’s Internet space is booming. With the world’s largest Internet user population and a long way to go to reach Internet penetration levels of developed countries, China’s Internet industry is growing in both scale and influence. And as more and more Chinese users come online, Baidu continues to innovate to meet their changing needs and diverse tastes. We aim to serve the needs of our users and customers with products and solutions that prioritize the user experience and reflect our corporate culture – simple and reliable.

The origin of Baidu’s name

Our name was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during China’s Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one’s dreams while confronted by life’s many obstacles. “…Hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos / Suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.” Baidu, whose literal meaning is “hundreds of times,” represents a persistent search for the ideal.

Baidu’s history

Baidu was co-founded in 2000 by Internet pioneer Robin Li, creator of visionary search technology Rankdex, a method of hyperlink analysis. He set out to provide the best and most equitable way for people to find what they’re looking for and built a company culture predicated on two principles: simplicity and reliability. Over the past 20 years, we have striven to fulfill our mission by listening carefully to our users.

In order to provide intelligent, relevant search results for the tens of billions of queries that are entered into our search platform every day, we focus on powering the best technology, optimized for up-to-date local tastes and preferences. Our deep understanding of Chinese language and culture is central to our success in our home market, and this understanding has allowed us to tailor our search technology for our users’ needs.

We also see tremendous opportunity to service users outside China, in markets such as Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand. We are beginning to see our international products gain traction, with 260 million monthly active users in December 2015.

Who will be the winner in the Chinese EV market?

We reported that several Chinese companies take actions to enter and succeed in the Chinese EV market. For example, Chinese ride-hailing and IT giant, Didi Chuxing, manufactures the world’s first electric vehicle custom-built for ride-hailing. In fact, it will co-develop with BYD, one of the Chinese leading EV automaker. Another example is that Alibaba group, one of the world’s most valuable companies, collaborates with SAIC motor. SAIC motor is the competitor of Geely. Finally, the latest example is that Byton tries to overcome the difficulties by co-working with Foxconn.

As we can see these examples, the race in Chinese EV market becomes tighter. In 2018, more than half of EV sales around the globe is the Chinese market. Therefore, China is the most largest and important market. As a result, many automobile manufacturers and IT companies try to gain the market share. In addition, this trend will be accelerating in 2020s. Thus, there is no clear winning formula in the EV market. However, whether company wins or loses in the Chinese market could be a test for other global markets.