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Geely’s Zeekr plans to deliver 70,000 vehicles this year: report

Geely’s premium electric mobility brand Zeekr has set itself a goal of delivering 70,000 vehicles this year with plans to begin exporting its first offering – the model 001 – to Europe early next year, company sources told state-owned financial media CLS on Monday. Zeekr is also reportedly pursuing a long-term shipment goal of 100,000 vehicles in the overseas market in 2025, around 15% of its annual sales goal for that year. The Chinese automaker delivered 6,007 Zeekr 001 electric crossovers in late 2021 after delivery began in October and has partnered with Intel subsidiary Mobileye on self-driving technology. [CLS, in Chinese]

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JD opens robotic offline stores in Netherlands to tap European market

Chinese online retailer JD opened two brick-and-mortar shops in the Netherlands on Monday as the company tries to expand its global expansion beyond Southeast Asian to European markets. The new shops merge online ordering with outlets where robotic arms and automated guided vehicles prepare parcels for collection. Home delivery services are also offered. Branded under Ochama, a combination of “omnichannel” and “amazing”, the shops mark the first time the Beijing-based tech giant has expanded its physical presence into Europe. The two shops opened in Rotterdam and Leiden, with two another stores in Amsterdam and Utrecht due in the near future. [JD press release, in Chinese]

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Alibaba’s Daniel Zhang quits Weibo’s board of director

Chinese Twitter-like social media platform Weibo announced Monday that Alibaba chairman Daniel Zhang has resigned from the company’s board of directors. Dong Benhong, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group, has been appointed as a new board member. The board member change comes as Alibaba, which owns a roughly 30% stake in Weibo, is reportedly planning to offload its shares in the company to a state-owned conglomerate. China’s regulators are currently taking a closer look at the influence tech giants like Alibaba enjoy in the media. [Weibo announcement]

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WeRide starts public trials of robobus services in Guangzhou

WeRide has launched a free autonomous mini-bus service on Guangzhou’s International Bio Island as part of the Chinese self-driving startup’s efforts to commercialize the technology. The company said in an announcement on Friday that it is now operating two bus lines with four robobuses  in the capital city of southern Guangdong province. Each vehicle is equipped with WeRide’s self-driving system and was produced by Chinese bus maker Yutong. The firm is also testing a robotaxi service and developing self-driving vans for urban logistics services with Nissan and GAC, among other backers. [WeRide release]

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WeChat offers more transparency over personal data in latest Android update

Chinese super app WeChat rolled out internal testing for its new android version on Saturday, with a feature allowing users to see how much personal data the app collects. In the app’s settings interface, WeChat users can check how much personal information it is collecting – ranging from users’ basic background details and device usage to contacts – and what data is being shared with third-party services. Chinese mega apps are stepping up their data transparency efforts as the country enforces stricter privacy policies on mobile apps. [Sina, in Chinese]

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Battery giant CATL builds Shanghai research center to explore next-generation EV power

CATL has set up a research and development facility in Shanghai and partnered with Shanghai Jiaotong University aiming to “achieve breakthroughs in next-generation technologies for new energy vehicles,” according to an announcement released Saturday. Facing pressure from a looming shortage of lithium and other materials used in batteries, the leading Chinese battery maker has been ramping up efforts to guide the industry away from lithium-ion batteries. In August last year, the company announced plans to produce sodium-ion batteries by 2023 . [CATL release, in Chinese]

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China tech firms receive $130.6 billion venture capital in 2021 despite crackdown

Venture capital investments in China jumped almost 50% from $86.7 billion in 2020 to a new record of $130.6 billion for 2021, according to the research firm Preqin. The growth was achieved despite regulatory crackdowns on major players such as Alibaba, Tencent, and ByteDance over the past year. Hard-core technologies like semiconductors, robotics, and enterprise software have drawn entrepreneurs and investor attention according to Preqin’s data. China still trailed the US’s $296.6 billion in overall venture investment last year, although Chinese firms have surpassed their US counterparts in certain areas such as chips and integrated circuits. [Bloomberg]