Baidu and Geely shack up to build electric cars in China

Baidu Apollo

Baidu wants to build cars.

China New Service/Getty Images

Big news from China’s answer to Google came on Sunday as Baidu announced it signed a strategic partnership with Geely, one of the largest Chinese automakers. It also happens to own Volvo and Lotus. The partnership will see the internet platform work with the automaker to build future electric vehicles in the country.

It sounds like Baidu will be mighty involved in this venture. Everything from the industrial supply chain, to vehicle design and manufacturing, to sales and service are all part of the company’s plans. The Chinese search engine will provide the “intelligent driving capabilities,” according to the announcement. What exactly the “intelligent” capabilities are, we don’t know yet. Baidu created its Apollo self-driving car division in the past to research and develop autonomous car technology, however. Perhaps the company sees this opportunity as a way to fold its learnings into hardware.

While the partnership likely won’t affect much of anything in the US, at least for now, there’s the possibility Volvo ties into this somehow. Geely scored a global luxury brand when it plucked Volvo years ago, and Volvo certainly does have reach in North America. And if you’re still not understanding the gravity of this deal, this would be like Google and General Motors partnering to build a Google Car of sorts. Actually, that sort of ordeal might be playing out as we speak with Apple as Hyundai’s rumored to build the long-rumored Apple Car later this year.

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