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Thursday, March 12, 2015, 17:50

SAIC Motor, Alibaba to invest in e-cars

By Reuters

BEIJING - Chinese auto maker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd said on Thursday it would join forces with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to invest 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) in a fund to develop Internet-connected cars.

The pair will establish a joint venture and aim to launch their first car in 2016, SAIC said in a statement. The 50-50 JV will be opened to other investors in future, according to a spokeswoman for the automaker.

SAIC shares rose 9.8 percent to a more than two-month high on news of the partnership, before shedding some of the gains to close up 4.8 percent.

Chinese internet companies and auto makers have been quick to team up to start developing partly self-driving and Internet-connected cars, following a path already trodden by US tech giants Google Inc and Apple Inc.

Internet giant Baidu Inc, which leads China's search market and competes with Alibaba in some areas, is developing cars that are shifting parts of driving towards automation, working with companies like Germany's BMW AG .

In an emailed statement, Alibaba said its partnership with SAIC would include developing new technologies and services using cloud computing.

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