Alibaba Group and the Ford Motor Company have signed a Letter of Intent today to collaborate on connectivity, cloud computing, AI, and mobility services. The main thrust of the agreement seems to be on ways to sell the new electric vehicles Ford will be manufacturing in China.

Details so far are slim, but a release from Alibaba states the three-year agreement will aim to “redefine how consumers purchase and own vehicles, as well as how to leverage digital channels to identify new retail opportunities”. This suggests the agreement is less on the core aspects of a vehicle, and more about how to keep selling services to owners, a business model familiar to Alibaba.

“Our data-driven technology and platform will expand the definition of car ownership beyond just having a mode of transportation and into a new medium for smart lifestyle,” said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang in the release.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...