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By Ding Yi / Aug 06, 2021 08:47 PM / Business & Tech

Realme has shipped its first 100 million units in less time than any other mobile phone company, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

The Chinese company, which launched its first smartphone — the Realme 1 — in May 2018, took only 37 months to achieve the feat, faster than Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei and Xiaomi.

Wu Yiwen, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, linked Realme’s success to its wide range of offerings, competitive pricing, striking online marketing and massive retail presence.

China and India are two major sales drivers for Realme. According to Strategy Analytics, Realme is the fastest growing brand in China, with its shipments there in the first half of 2021 growing 175% compared with the same period of last year. In the second quarter of this year, Realme rose as the fourth-biggest smartphone seller in India with a record 14% share since its foray into the South Asian country in 2018.

Over the past three decades, 16 handset brands have shipped more than 100 million units worldwide, according to Linda Sui, senior director at Strategy Analytics.

Related: Xiaomi Unseats Samsung as Europe’s Best-Selling Smartphone Brand

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 06, 2021 08:43 PM / Business & Tech

Autonomous truck startup Plus has conducted a test in China in which a semi-trailer truck ran completely independently of human intervention.

In a statement published on Thursday, Plus, which splits its operations between China, the U.S. and Europe, said that the successful trial took place on the newly built Wufengshan highway in the Yangtze River delta region.

The test of the semi-trailer truck, equipped with Level 4 autonomous driving technology, aims to progress the commercialization of a driver-in product for semi-trailer trucks called PlusDrive, according to the company’s statement. Level 4 technology is the second-highest level of autonomy, which allows a car to drive itself with no human intervention under most circumstances.

Plus is among several auto firms looking to adopt their technologies to long-haul driverless trucking, which is widely seen as a viable application of self-driving technology because the highways on which rigs usually run tend to have less complex traffic conditions.

Plus said that it plans to pilot its fully driverless trucks in a dedicated scenario in 2022.

Related: Amazon Buys Automated Driving Systems From Plus, Considers Stake Purchase

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 06, 2021 04:46 PM / Business & Tech

Foxconn will buy a semiconductor factory from Taiwanese memory chip supplier Macronix International for NT$2.52 billion ($91 million), upping its efforts to make auto chips as the iPhone-assembler expands further into the electric vehicle industry.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the two companies said that the acquisition deal for the Hsinchu-based facility, which manufactures six-inch wafers used primarily for making car-chip components, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The deal comes as chipmakers try to meet growing demand from producers of goods from cars and electronics, whose supply chains have been disrupted by a global shortage of semiconductors.

The deal will give Foxconn a push start in its production of silicon carbide semiconductors, or SiC chips, which are a vital component for electric vehicles, Foxconn Chairman and CEO Liu Young-way said. SiC chips are also used in 5G base stations and fast-charging facilities.

Liu told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that Foxconn plans to invest billions of New Taiwan dollars to increase the factory’s capacity to 15,000 wafers a month by 2024, a sum that could supply SiC chips for 360,000 electric vehicles a year, according to Nikkei Asia.

In May, Foxconn announced partnerships with automakers Fisker and Stellantis to push deeper into car manufacturing. The partnership with Fisker focuses on the development of an affordable electric vehicle, while the deal with Stellantis involves R&D for intelligent control technologies for connected cars.

Related: Foxconn Talks Electric-Vehicle Motor Venture With Japan’s Nidec

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By Ding Yi / Aug 05, 2021 05:57 PM / Business & Tech

Samsung is no longer the No. 1 smartphone brand in Europe, relinquishing the crown to China’s Xiaomi, which started as a budget handset-maker only a decade ago.

The Beijing-based company overtook Samsung for the first time to become Europe’s largest smartphone vendor in the second quarter of this year, when it shipped 12.7 million units, up 67.1% year-on-year, giving it a market share of 25.3%, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

However, Xiaomi’s dominance is far from unassailable as longtime leader Samsung still controlled 24% of the market as the No. 2 seller despite suffering a year-on-year shipment drop of 7%. It was the only brand in the top five to take a sales dive in the second quarter.

“Xiaomi has seen great success in Russia, Ukraine, Spain and Italy among others and found customers eager for its Mi and Redmi series of feature-rich, valuable smartphones,” said Boris Metodiev, associate director at Strategy Analytics.

Apple, Oppo and Realme came in third, fourth and fifth, with respective market shares of 19.2%, 5.6% and 3.8%. Of the top five vendors, Realme enjoyed the highest year-on-year shipment growth of 1,800%, followed by its Chinese peer Oppo, which had 180% growth.

Overall, smartphone shipments in Europe rose 14.4% year-on-year in the second quarter to 50.1 million units, largely driven by continued economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Strategy Analytics.

Related: Closing In on Samsung, Xiaomi Dethrones Apple to Become World’s No. 2 Smartphone Seller

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)


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By Ding Yi / Aug 05, 2021 05:52 PM / Business & Tech

BeiGene, a Chinese biotech company that develops cancer drugs, plans to build a new R&D and manufacturing base in the eastern U.S. state of New Jersey, with a vision to make better use of local talent to boost its overseas expansion efforts.

The firm, which splits its operations between China and the U.S., has agreed to buy a 42-acre site at the Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell, New Jersey, for the base, which will be used for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, clinical R&D and pharmacovigilance innovation, BeiGene said in a statement Tuesday. Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

BeiGene said it will initially hire hundreds of professionals at the new facility to support its growth in New Jersey and its efforts to develop oncology medicines. Currently, the company has a global R&D team of nearly 2,300 people dedicated to advancing more than 90 clinical trials.

Founded in 2010, BeiGene focuses on developing molecularly targeted and immuno-oncology drug candidates to treat different kinds of cancers. The company raised $182 million in its Nasdaq IPO in 2016 and $902 million in its Hong Kong secondary listing in 2018. It is now on track to have its shares traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s STAR Market.

BeiGene turned a profit in the first quarter of this year, its first time in the black since listing in Hong Kong, thanks largely to the strong sales of its drugs, some of which have been included on China’s National Reimbursement Drug List.

Related: BeiGene Cleared for $31 Billion STAR Market IPO

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)


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By Ding Yi / Aug 05, 2021 02:52 PM / Business & Tech

Network security specialist Anxinsec Technology has raised more than 100 million yuan ($15 million) in a series A funding round that valued it at 1 billion yuan.

Led by Hillhouse Capital’s GL Ventures, the new round attracted several other investors including V Fund, China Merchants Venture and Bluerun Ventures.

Founded in 2019 by former Baidu mobile security expert Jiang Xiangqian and antivirus virtual machine researcher Yao Jiwei, the Beijing-based startup specializes in developing memory protection systems used for preventing data stored in IT equipment from being stolen.

Currently, Anxinsec provides its solutions to customers from a variety of industries ranging from finance and energy to transportation and technology.

In July, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a draft three-year action plan to develop the country’s cybersecurity industry with an estimate that the sector is likely to be worth more than 250 billion yuan by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate of 15%.

The draft action plan comes as Beijing tightens its oversight of data storage, data transfer and personal data privacy. Last month, the Cyberspace Administration of China laid out revised regulations that require any Chinese company holding the personal information of 1 million or more users to get a cybersecurity review before going public outside the country.

Related: Investigators Posted Inside Didi as Part of Cybersecurity Probe

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Matthew Walsh / Aug 04, 2021 07:22 PM / Business & Tech

One of China’s top technology firms is killing off a short-video app that briefly made it big in the United States last year before becoming embroiled in a series of bitter controversies.

Kuaishou Technology, whose eponymous app is a major rival to ByteDance Inc.’s Chinese version of TikTok, said Wednesday that it will stop services for another of its offerings, Zynn.

The platform shot to the summit of download charts in the United States soon after it launched in May 2020, partly thanks to its system of paying users who signed up or referred friends.

But it rapidly fell from grace amid accusations of predatory pricing, plagiarizing TikTok’s layout and pilfering content from users on other social media platforms.

In June, Republican Senator Josh Hawley called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate Zynn, likening its model to a “traditional pyramid scheme.”

The same month, tech publication Wired reported that some online influencers had found that their videos had been uploaded to the app from other platforms without their consent.

Google Play Store made Zynn unavailable for download within a month of its debut, a move that a spokesman for the app later claimed was an “isolated incident,” AFP reported at the time.

Kuaishou will cease to provide services to Zynn on Aug. 20, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The company said in a statement that its strategy for foreign markets “remains unchanged.”

Besides Zynn, Kuaishou’s overseas offerings include video sharing platforms Kwai, which enjoys a solid following in South America, and Snack Video, which is popular in South Asia.

Kuaishou boasts about 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) across all its platforms worldwide, CEO Su Hua said in June.

TikTok said last year that it had around 690 million global MAUs as of July 2020. The app’s Chinese version, Douyin, has around 550 million MAUs.

This story has been updated to correct Kuaishou's number of monthly active users. The company has about 1 billion.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com) and editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 03, 2021 08:05 PM / Business & Tech

China’s Lenovo was still the top dog in the world’s PC market in the second quarter of 2021, with a market share of 25%, closely followed by HP.

From April to June, the Chinese company shipped 20 million PCs, representing a year-on-year increase of 15%, according to research firm Counterpoint Research.

HP, Dell and Apple came in second, third and fourth, with respective market shares of 23%, 17.2% and 7.5%. Of the top four sellers, Apple had the highest year-on-year shipment growth of 22%, which Counterpoint largely attributed to the adoption of the M1 microchip built using cutting-edge 5-namometer technology.

In total, PC-makers shipped 80.1 million machines worldwide in the second quarter, up 15% year-on-year, according to Counterpoint.

Related: Capitalizing on Huawei’s Woes, Lenovo Thrives in Global Tablet Market

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 03, 2021 05:58 PM / Business & Tech

Xiaomi has made it onto the Fortune Global 500 for three years in a row, with the 2021 list showing that the Chinese smartphone giant achieved the biggest jump in the ranking for a company in the internet and retail category.

With revenues of $35.6 billion in the last fiscal year, a year-on-year increase of 19.6%, Xiaomi climbed 84 places to 338th on the 2021 list of the world’s highest-earning companies, which Fortune magazine published Monday.

Xiaomi makes the bulk of its revenues on smartphones. In the second quarter of this year, it surpassed Apple for the first time to become the world’s second-largest smartphone-maker, with a market share of 17%, only 2 percentage points lower than Samsung, according to research firm Canalys. The Beijing-based company has also announced plans to expand into smart car manufacturing to grab a slice of the booming market.

Other Chinese internet and retailing giants to make it onto the list include Huawei, JD.com, Alibaba, Tencent and Lenovo, ranking 44th, 59th, 63rd, 132rd and 159th respectively.

China’s state-owned electricity distributor State Grid was the country’s highest entry, ranking second behind U.S. retailer Walmart after increasing revenues by 0.7% to $386 billion.

Related: Closing In on Samsung, Xiaomi Dethrones Apple to Become World’s No. 2 Smartphone Seller

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 03, 2021 03:58 PM / Business & Tech

China’s three U.S.-listed electric-car makers all reported healthy sales numbers in July, in a demonstration of consumers’ continued growing demand for homegrown new-energy vehicles.

New York Stock Exchange-listed Nio delivered 7,931 vehicles in July, representing a year-on-year increase of 124.5%, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Rival Xpeng, which made a dual primary listing in Hong Kong earlier this month following its New York listing last August, said on Sunday that it achieved its highest ever monthly deliveries of 8,040 vehicles in July, up 228% year-on-year.

Nasdaq-listed Li Auto, which is moving toward a secondary listing in Hong Kong from which it is looking to raise as much as HK$15 billion ($1.93 billion), saw its July sales jump 251.3% year-on-year to 8,589 Li ONEs, a monthly sales record since the company began delivering its sole model in December 2019.

The strong gains in July come as a number of electric-vehicle makers ramp up their manufacturing capacities in China as favorable policies are rolled out to promote the development of the industry.

Xpeng last week started building a new plant in the Chinese central city of Wuhan designed to have an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles, a move that came months after it began delivering its G3 SUVs to customers in Norway.

Nio also has global aspirations. Earlier this month, the Shanghai-based company started shipping the first batch of its flagship ES8 SUVs to Norway after being allowed to provide power swapping and charging services in the EU.

Related: Tesla Wannabe Xpeng Begins Building New Factory in Central China

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 02, 2021 07:29 PM / Business & Tech

BioMap, a Chinese startup that uses biological computing technology to develop drugs, has raised more than $100 million in a series A funding round led by GGV Capital.

Biological computing is a technology that operates at the intersection of biology, engineering and computer science and that uses cells or their sub-component molecules such as DNA to perform functions traditionally performed by an electronic computer.

The round also attracted investors including Baidu, Legend Capital, Bluerun Ventures and Xianghe Capital, BioMap said in a statement on Saturday.

The Beijing-based company said that it will use the fresh capital to boost R&D of its biocomputing technology.

Co-founded by Baidu CEO Robin Li and former Baidu Ventures’ CEO Wei Liu last year, BioMap said that it will focus on developing therapies and medicines for tumors, autoimmune diseases and fibrotic diseases.

Related: Bota Bio Raises New Capital to Popularize Biological Manufacturing

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By An Limin and Ding Yi / Aug 02, 2021 05:39 PM / Business & Tech

China has updated its regulations on driverless car testing in an attempt to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving technology.

The revamped regulation, which was jointly published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Transport on Friday, allows qualified firms to conduct trials of autonomous vehicles used for transporting passengers and goods on highways and city roads.

Driverless cars that are equipped with real-time remote monitoring systems and can record and store driving data for at least 90 seconds before any crash or system failure are eligible to apply for the trial.

Human drivers are required to be present in the self-driving cars used in trials, and will be held responsible for any traffic violations in accordance with the country’s current traffic rules.

The release of the regulation comes as Chinese self-driving car developers are redoubling efforts to monetize their technologies at a time when the general public still has reservations about the safety of autonomous rides.

In May, the smart logistics subsidiary of Chinese self-driving car startup Pony.ai obtained a license to conduct commercial autonomous freight operations in the Chinese southern megacity of Guangzhou. In April, Chinese search engine giant Baidu gained approval to charge for its autonomous bus pilot program in the western Chinese city of Chongqing.

Last year, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and several other government agencies set a goal for 2025, by which time the country should achieve mass production of vehicles featuring Level 3 self-driving capabilities. The Society of Automotive Engineers classifies autonomous driving into six levels from 0 to 5, with Level 3 referring to features that allow a car to drive itself only under certain circumstances in which a human driver is ready to take control in case of an emergency.

Related: TuSimple to Build U.S. Self-Driving Truck Network Using Ryder Depots

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Aug 02, 2021 03:39 PM / Business & Tech

Electric-car maker Xpeng has started building a new plant in central China designed to have an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles, as it vies for its slice of the booming market.

The facility in Wuhan, which is being built in partnership with the local government, will incorporate workshops for stamping, welding, painting, final assembly and battery pack production, and will produce cars based on Xpeng’s third-generation smart driving platform, the Guangzhou-based company said in a statement on Saturday.

U.S.-listed Xpeng did not say when the factory will start production, but it said that the new facility is expected to create an annual output worth more than 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) when it reaches full capacity.

“About 60% of cars sold in China’s first-tier cities will be smart vehicles by 2025, which I believe will bring a huge opportunity to Xpeng that has maintained strong growth in sales for the past six months,” Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng said.

In July, Xpeng achieved its highest ever monthly deliveries of 8,040 electric vehicles consisting of 6,054 P7 sports sedans and 1,986 G3 compact SUVs, representing a year-on-year increase of 228%.

Currently, Xpeng makes vehicles at its wholly owned plant in the southern Chinese city of Zhaoqing. The company is also building a manufacturing base in Guangzhou which is scheduled to start operations by December 2022. The Guangzhou facility will also serve as a center for research and development, the company said.

Related: Chinese Tesla Challenger Nio Begins Shipping SUVs to Norway

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jul 30, 2021 07:13 PM / Business & Tech

Chinese industrial biotech startup Bota Bio has raised more than $100 million in a series B funding round, bringing its total financing to $145 million.

Founded in 2019 in Hangzhou, the firm specializes in using microorganisms and biological components to manufacture common household and industrial products, with a vision to make traditional manufacturing processes more sustainable.

Led by Sequoia Capital China, the round attracted investors including Matrix Partners China, Source Code Capital, Sherpa Healthcare Partners and 5Y Capital, Bota Bio said in a statement on Thursday.

The company said that it intends to use the fresh capital to expand its global operations and build a technology platform which will accelerate the deployment of its product pipeline involving consumer goods, food, nutrition and pharmaceutical products.

“We are empowering a diverse global client base from different industries to develop bio-based alternatives to traditional ingredients,” said Bota Bio CEO Cheryl Cui.

She added that her company’s solutions could help manufacturers achieve a transition to eco-friendly operations as governments worldwide undertake ambitious plans to go carbon neutral.

In March, Bota Bio received investment from German chemical producer BASF’s BASF Venture Capital.

Related: Chinese Drugmaker Inmagene Secures $100 Million in New Funding

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jul 30, 2021 06:26 PM / Business & Tech

Lenovo was the fastest-growing brand among the world’s five biggest tablet computer vendors in the second quarter of 2021. That was in stark contrast to fellow Chinese brand Huawei, which was the only one among the group whose sales shrunk as U.S. sanctions continued to bite.

In the three months through June, Lenovo shipped 4.7 million tablets globally, representing a year-on-year increase of 67% and making it the world’s third-largest seller with a market share of 10%, according to Strategy Analytics.

Huawei finished the quarter with its shipments down 57% year-on-year at 2.1 million, making it the world’s fifth best-selling tablet computer brand with 5% of the market, 6.7 percentage points lower than in the same period last year.

U.S. restrictions on supplying microchips made with American technology to Huawei have wreaked havoc on the Shenzhen-based tech giant’s global sales of consumer electronics, including the smartphone, one of its major revenue generators.

Apple, Samsung and Amazon, which all experienced double-digit year-on-year shipment growth in the second quarter, came in first, second and fourth, with respective market shares of 35%, 18% and 9%.

In total, tablet-makers shipped 45.2 million devices worldwide, up 5% year-on-year, 65% of which were powered by the Android operating system, according to Strategy Analytics.

Related: Smartphone Brand Honor Makes a Comeback After Being Ditched by Huawei

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jul 30, 2021 03:58 PM / Business & Tech

Self-driving truck startup TuSimple has forged a partnership with U.S. transportation and logistics company Ryder to support its plans to build an autonomous freight network that will cover most of the U.S.

Under the partnership, TuSimple, which splits its operations between China and the U.S., will use some of Ryder’s more than 500 maintenance sites as terminals along its autonomous freight routes, according to a joint statement released Thursday.

Currently, TuSimple, based in San Diego and Beijing, operates a fleet of more than 50 self-driving trucks to transport goods in the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, with plans to expand to the East Coast by the end of this year. These rigs are powered by U.S. Society of Automotive Engineers-rated Level 4 technology, which allows vehicles to drive themselves with no human intervention under most circumstances.

TuSimple said gaining access to some Ryder facilities will exempt it from extra heavy investment in building its own new terminals amid efforts to scale up its driverless freight system across the U.S.

Last year, TuSimple laid out a plan to work with local logistics operators including its financial backer UPS to expand autonomous operations to cover transportation arteries in 48 U.S. states by 2024.

Trucking is widely considered to be a viable application of self-driving technology because the highways on which big rigs usually run tend to have relatively predictable traffic conditions.

Related: TuSimple, AEye to Develop Lidar Sensors for Autonomous Trucks

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jul 29, 2021 08:23 PM / Business & Tech

Yusur Technology, a Beijing-based startup that develops data processing units (DPUs), has raised an undisclosed amount of money in a series A funding round led by Huatai Innovation Investments.

Proceeds from the round, which was also joined by investors including Lingjun Investment and Guoxin Creative Fund, will be used to fund R&D of its second-generation K2 DPU processor, Yusur said in a statement on Tuesday.

DPUs are a new type of processor combined with network interface that are optimized to perform and accelerate network and storage functions carried out by data center servers.

With growing demand for cloud services resulting in the construction of more data centers, Yusur CEO Yan Guihai predicted that more than 200 million DPUs will be needed in the next five years.

Since its inception in 2018, Yusur has been developing DPUs based on its self-developed Kernel Processing Unit architecture, applying them in fields such as financial risk control and fast financial transactions.

Related: Tencent Cloud Launches New Data Centers to Meet Global Ambition

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jul 29, 2021 07:03 PM / Business & Tech

Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi is stepping up its self-driving ambitions with a new round of recruiting.

On Wednesday, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said on social media that the company is recruiting 500 professionals to help it develop Level 4 autonomous driving technology, the second-highest level of autonomy, which allows a car to drive itself with no human intervention under most circumstances.

The vacancies, which are almost all based in Beijing’s Haidian district, where Xiaomi is headquartered, involve a variety of fields including algorithms of millimeter-wave imaging processing, high-precision mapping, imitation learning and deep learning.

A month ago, Xiaomi ran an online job ad offering 20 positions in autonomous driving, including those in the areas of data platforms, in-vehicle infrastructure and high-precision mapping, according to the South China Morning Post.

In March, the smartphone giant announced plans to set up a new smart car division with an initial investment of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), jumping on the electric car manufacturing bandwagon alongside tech giants like Baidu.

Related: Closing In on Samsung, Xiaomi Dethrones Apple to Become World’s No. 2 Smartphone Seller

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By Ding Yi / Jul 29, 2021 04:45 PM / Business & Tech

Baidu’s third Apollo Park got up and running in Shanghai on Wednesday, injecting impetus into the tech giant’s ongoing efforts to achieve mass use of its autonomous vehicles.

Located in Shanghai International Automobile City, an automotive industry cluster in the financial hub’s Jiading district, the new 10,000-square-meter Apollo Park is intended to function as a cloud and big data operations center for Baidu’s connected self-driving vehicles, the company said in a statement.

The park, which houses an R&D center and a self-driving technology developers’ community, paves the way for a future fleet of more than 200 Baidu robotaxis in Shanghai, according to the statement.

Currently, Baidu is operating a very limited number of robotaxis which are yet to be made available to the general public, a Baidu representative told Caixin.

The park announcement comes a week after Baidu expanded its Apollo Go robotaxi service to Guangzhou, home to its second Apollo Park and designed as a testing base for autonomous vehicles and their application in various scenarios such as passenger transportation and street cleaning.

Baidu completed the construction of its first Apollo Park in Beijing last year, saying it would perform tasks including testing its vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology that enables a two-way exchange of information between vehicles and traffic signals, lane markings and other smart road infrastructure via a wireless connection.

On Tuesday, Beijing announced (link in Chinese) its decision to allow qualified companies to test their autonomous vehicles on a 10-kilometer section of Beijing-Taipei expressway, with Baidu becoming one of the first firms to obtain a permit to conduct such road tests.

Related: DeepRoute.ai Self-Driving Taxis Hit Shenzhen Roads

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jul 28, 2021 06:49 PM / Business & Tech

Dada Group’s intracity courier unit Dada Now has officially launched a platform for its autonomous delivery service, in a move to take on rivals like Meituan which is already testing a drone-enabled logistics network in Shanghai.

The platform, already adopted by Seven Fresh stores and Yonghui supermarkets, uses autonomous delivery vehicles developed by JD Logistics and White Rhino that focus on delivering goods within an hour of being ordered. The vehicles can play a bigger role in bad weather and at nights when the supply of human couriers is less stable, Shanghai-based Dada Group said in a statement on Tuesday.

The platform also features functions including order management, vehicle dispatching and delivery route planning to enhance efficiency, the statement said.

The announcement comes little more than a week after Beijing-based White Rhino secured nearly $10 million in its pre-series A funding round.

In recent years, China’s delivery companies have geared up to offer more robot-enabled logistics services as part of efforts to reduce costs and enhance efficiency. This week, food delivery giant Meituan signed an agreement with electric-vehicle startup Li Auto to use the latter’s intellectual property to develop self-driving delivery vehicles.

Related: Meituan Borrows Electric Car Designs to Develop Self-Driving Delivery Vehicles

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Heather Mowbray (heathermowbray@caixin.com)

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