China’s ride-sharing leader Didi Chuxing opened a research centre in Silicon Valley to develop assisted and autonomous driving systems.

Didi Labs is located in Mountain View and will be led by Fengmin Gong, VP of Didi Research Institute, AFP reported. Didi reportedly hired engineers from Google’s rebranded self-driving unit Waymo.

The centre will focus on cloud-based security, deep learning, human-machine interaction, computer vision and imaging, and intelligent driving technologies, Didi said in a statement. It also aims to support cities developing smart transportation infrastructure.

Didi, which claims 90 per cent of China’s ride-hailing market, merged with Uber in China last July. Uber’s loss-making Chinese unit was valued at an estimated $7 billion before the merger.

Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, set up a self-driving car unit in Silicon Valley a year ago. The team is part of Baidu’s autonomous driving unit, which was expected to have more than 100 researchers and engineers by the end of 2016.