What happened: Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi has set up a joint venture (JV) with a unit of state-owned BAIC to work on new energy vehicles (NEV) and artificial intelligence. The JV aims to develop the next generation of connected car systems amid a shift by BAIC to move away from gas-driven cars by 2025.
Why it’s important: The market for NEVs in China is growing rapidly while the wider auto market cools. Sales of fully or partially electric vehicles jumped by nearly 62% to 1.3 million units in 2018. That number is expected to reach 1.6 million units in 2019, according to China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Didi said there are already 400,000 NEVs operating on its platform through partnerships with auto manufacturers including BYD. NEVs and autonomous vehicles also form a central part of China’s Made in China 2025 initiative, in which Beijing seeks to move to a more high-value economy.