Banma Network Technologies (斑马网络), a joint venture between Alibaba Group and SAIC Motor Corp, has completed its first financing round raising over RMB 1.6 billion, according to local media 36Kr (in Chinese). The funding round was led by SDIC Innovation Investment Management, with participation from Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital and SAIC Motor’s investment management platform Shangqi Capital. Banma hinted it has reached the coveted unicorn status, but did not disclose its post-funding valuation. The new investment will be used in talent recruitment and technology development.

Banma was founded in 2015 by Alibaba and SAIC Motor. The company launched the world’s first “Internet car”, the Roewe RX5, in 2016. The term “Internet car” refers to the next-generation of vehicles based on internet of things (IoT) technologies. The physical elements of the RX5 are designed and developed by SAIC Motor. It is marketed and sold under SAIC Motor’s Roewe brand. Alibaba, on the other hand, provides the operating system for the vehicle’s infotainment system–the AliOS. Alibaba claims that close to 400,000 internet cars are being driven in China are powered by its car operating system.

Hao Fei, the new CEO of Banma, revealed in an interview in July that the company is looking to expand its partnerships with Chinese car makers. According to Banma, a number of car brands including Changan Ford, Dongfeng Citroën, and Qoros will launch AliOS-fitted new models in the second half of 2018.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Nicole Jao

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.