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Jidu Auto

Baidu and Geely’s Jidu Auto to spend $7.7 billion in ‘robot’ smart cars

Jidu Auto, an electric vehicle venture between Baidu and Geely, aims to invest 50 billion yuan ($7.70 billion) into producing smart cars for the next five years, its CEO Xia Yiping said.

Xia Yiping said on Friday that the funding would come from Baidu and other investors and Jidu would aim to release its first electric vehicle (EV) in three years, as is standard for the automotive industry, but would make efforts to accelerate it.

Its first EV would look like a “robot” and would target young consumers, Xia said, adding that Jidu would review big market data before making decision on a final model.

“It will make you feel like it’s a robot that can communicate with you with emotions,” said Xia.

Jidu plans to release a new model every one or one-and-a-half years after its initial launch. The automaker plans to hire 2,500 to 3,000 people over two to three years, of which 400 to 500 will be software engineers.

Xia said Jidu, which will utilize Geely’s open-source electric vehicle platform, hopes to make cars in Hangzhou Bay in China’s eastern city of Ningbo, where Geely has got some plants.

It plans to sell its vehicles directly to consumers without using dealerships.

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