Online shopping giant Alibaba has invested in an electric car startup, it said today.
Alibaba confirmed the move this evening to Tech in Asia following rumors in Chinese media about it funding Xpeng (also known as Xiaopeng), which last month launched its first vehicle, the all-electric Identy X SUV.
The funding amount isn’t disclosed, but several Chinese media outlets said Alibaba was taking a 10 percent stake in the fledgling carmaker.
“As a clean energy vehicle startup, the investment in Xiaopeng Motors fits with Alibaba’s strategic focus in the automotive sector. Under our open-platform approach, we will continue to work with a range of automotive manufacturing partners to benefit Chinese consumers,” an Alibaba spokesperson told us.
The Xpeng Identy X has a lot of tech for a relatively cheap car, including this pop-up camera on the roof.
Inside, it looks a lot like the interior of a Tesla, as noted by Electrek – from the shape of the digital instrument cluster to that massive vertical screen in the center console.
Alibaba makes an Apple CarPlay-style system called AliOS, which it rolled out last year. Jack Ma’s company last week said it’s exploring a partnership with Ford that could see AliOS put onto the screens of Ford’s China-made vehicles.
Archrival Chinese tech giant Tencent has invested in Tesla, paying out around US$2 billion for a 5 percent stake. Tencent has also backed NIO, the Chinese startup that this week launched its electric SUV – though NIO’s will be a lot pricier than Xpeng’s.
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