Tencent-backed Future Mobility Co. has officially joined the club of Chinese auto concepts with a production deadline of 2020.
The auto startup, which is also counts Foxconn and Chinese car dealer Harmony New Energy as investors, plans to sell highly automated, electric cars globally within the next four-and-a-half years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
As a country of early adopters with an appetite for luxury vehicles, China has produced a number of electric, autonomous and connected car concepts, all hoping to reach production at an accelerated rate.
Baidu, China’s largest search engine, has committed to a 2018 release date for their autonomous concept, with a 2020 deadline for production and distribution. Likewise, LeEco, in partnership with Faraday Future, has set a similar 2020 deadline for their electric vehicle, claiming to have shortened the development stage by two years.
Future Mobility Co., which is just four months old, will close a funding round “soon,” according to CEO Carsten Breitfeld. He told the Wall Street Journal that the company is seeking to compete with major luxury car dealers Audi, Mercedes and BMW, which make up the lion’s share of China’s luxury vehicle market.
Mr. Breitfeld formerly worked on the development team for BMW’s i8 plug-in sports car.
Future Mobility Co. isn’t Tencent’s only bet in the autos industry. The social and gaming giant also invested in NextEV Inc., which has also attracted funding from Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital.