Alphabet’s self-driving company Waymo has chosen Shanghai as the headquarters of its subsidiary called Huimo Business Consulting. The China subsidiary was established in May with a capital of RMB 3.5 million yuan ($441,000). Huimo plans to design and test self-driving vehicles and products, and offer supply chain and logistics as well as business consulting, according to its official filing.
Although many are seeing the move as another step for Google in China after its secretive China-focused search engine, it can also be seen as a jump into China’s promising autonomous vehicle sector. China is set to become the world’s largest market for autonomous cars, according to research by Mckinsey. Head of Waymo China, Wang Min, told local media about its new subsidiary in July although the location was still unknown then.
Waymo chose Shangai likely because of its strong support for self-driving projects—the city gave out its first licenses for self-driving in March and promised to dedicate more roads to testing. Chen Mingbo, director of the Shanghai Economic and Information Commission, led a delegation to Silicon Valley in July visiting Baidu US, Tesla, Pony.ai, and Waymo as well as chip companies Intel and ARM Holdings.
Waymo China’s Wang Min has also appeared at a launch event of Meituan Dianping’s autonomous food delivery platform MAD in July signaling that there might be more cooperation in the future.