Future of transport

Tech giants Tencent and Foxconn team up to make 'smart cars'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 March, 2015, 11:53am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 6:28pm

Chinese internet giant Tencent and Taiwan's Foxconn Technology, a major Apple supplier, have announced plans to make a smart electric car. 

Foxconn told China Business News yesterday that it would sign a strategic agreement with Tencent to cooperate on web and smart car ventures. 

The model will borrow from Tencent’s insights on the internet industry and its open web platform in combination with Foxconn’s innovative design and manufacturing technology, Foxconn said.

“The goal is to create [an] efficient, energy-saving, safe and reliable smart electric car," a Foxconn official said.

The companies will likely manufacture the cars in Zhengzhou, where Foxconn has one of its largest facilities.

Tencent chairman Pony Ma Huateng met with Foxconn CEO Terry Guo on Monday and visited the company's Zhengzhou facility.

Last September, Guo expressed his ambitions for the electric car business and said he planned to invest at least 5 billion yuan (HK$6.3 billion) in electric car and battery technology in Shanxi province.

In December, Foxconn invested HK$600 million in Zhengzhou-based China Harmony Auto, which will also partner with Tencent and Foxconn in developing a smart electric car.

Foxconn, which has manufactured parts for US carmaker Tesla Motors, has experience in wire harness and automotive battery technology. 

Other Chinese Internet giants have shown interest in taking a slice of the electric car market. Baidu is developing an autonomous driving car through its artificial intelligence-focused Deep Learning Institute which it hopes to commercialise within five years.

The Chinese electric car industry has been booming in recent years after the government issued incentives such as tax cuts and research investment. In 2010, the Chinese government invested more than two billion yuan into electric car technologies, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Electric car investment is driven by national goals of reducing air pollution and developing green technologies.