Beijing (PingWest)- China’s search engine giant Baidu has appointed Mobike co-founder and former chief technology officer Xia Yiping as chief executive officer of its new electric vehicle venture that was set up with Geely in January.
Prior to his new position, Xia served as chief technology officer at Mobike since January 2015 when it was founded in Beijing. Before Mobike, Xia served various positions at Ford Motor and Chinese telecoms company ZTE.
In January, Baidu has established a new joint venture with Zhejiang Geely Holding group to manufacture intelligent electric car that will count on its intelligent driving system Apollo and Geely’s car manufacturing expertise and EV modular platform-Sustainable Experience Architecture.
Baidu CEO and founder Robin said on Thursday that a new electric vehicle model will be launched in around three years.
Baidu’s expansion into the intelligent EV sector was not a surprise to industry analyst and market watchers. Baidu developed its autonomous driving system Apollo since 2017 and it has supplied open-source technology to carmakers including FAW Group, BMW, Ford Motor, Volkswagen as well as electric vehicle maker NIO.
However, Baidu hasn’t reveal its intention to manufacture car not until January 2021, instead, Baidu have been focused on providing technologies to other car companies, a similar approaches used by Alphabet’s Waymo.
Unlike Baidu, other Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent have participated in EV sector through investment, Chinese EV maker Xpeng is backed by Alibaba while Tencent invested in NIO and Li Auto is supported by Meituan and Bytedance.
Some industry analysts anticipated that Baidu and Geely will focus on offering level 3 autonomous driving functions for its new electric vehicles. Baidu is leading on the development of autonomous driving technologies in China, the company has completed the most road test for autonomous vehicles in Beijing in 2020, topping autonomous driving road test in China’s capital city for the third consecutive year.