Chinese internet giant Baidu announced plans to supply automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding with its intelligent driving technologies as part of a joint venture to manufacture smart electric vehicles (EV).

In a statement, Baidu co-founder and CEO Robin Li said: “We believe that by combining Baidu’s expertise in smart transportation, connected vehicles and autonomous driving with Geely’s expertise as a leading automobile and EV manufacturer, the new partnership will pave the way for future passenger vehicles.”

Li said it invested heavily in AI over the past decade to build a portfolio of self-driving services, adding China had “become the world’s largest market for EVs” and buyers were “demanding next-generation vehicles to be more intelligent”.

Its Apollo fleet of autonomous vehicles reached more than 2 million test km on the road in June 2020 across 13 cities.

In 2018, the company worked with King Long Motor and Neolix Technology on fully autonomous vehicles, and in 2017 formed a broad alliance with more than 50 automotive and tech companies to push Apollo globally.