Chinese self-driving startup Hongjing Drive on Wednesday announced it has raised “tens of millions of RMB” in its Series pre-A. This is the second venture deal in China’s AV industry in two weeks amid an enhanced national push to drive an automotive technology revolution.

Why it matters: The recent deals reveal a modest recovery of investors’ confidence after government initiatives were introduced.

  • China’s state economic planner earlier this year delayed its ambitious plans for five more years of “mass production” of intelligent vehicles with “conditional” self-driving capabilities from 2020 to 2025.
  • The central government has set a goal to draft technical standards for intelligent vehicles by year-end to lay the foundation for adoption ramp-up in the next five years.

Details: Hongjing Drive, a Chinese supplier of AV computing platforms, has closed an undisclosed amount of fresh funding led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm BlueRun Ventures. California-based TransLink Capital and existing investor China’s Linear Capital both followed on.

  • Hongjing was founded in 2018 by Liu Feilong, a former engineering lead at GM’s autonomous driving business unit
  • It specializes in developing a scalable computing platform that serves as the brain for autonomous vehicles.
  • The company has offices in Detroit and Shanghai-based and is looking for a presence first in low-level automated driving businesses while exploring use cases in the L3 semi-autonomous market.
  • It is working on L3 autonomous trucks with China’s state-owned automaker FAW and Nio’s manufacturing partner JAC that could deliver at least 5% fuel cost reduction and half of labor savings for the traditional logistics industry.

Context: On April 29, Inceptio, a Chinese self-driving truck startup announced it has raised $100 million from Singapore’s Global Logistic Properties Ltd (GLP) among other investors.

  • The company is planing on making “several thousands of” L3 robotrucks with OEMs including China’s Dongfeng Motor by the end of 2021, CEO Julian Ma said speaking with TechNode last month.
  • The global mobility market venture deals shrank by 40% from a year ago to $33.5 billion in 2019, Wired reported citing figures from the data and research company Pitchbook.
  • The market witnessed a rebound with $11.8 billion spent by VCs on global mobility companies in the first quarter of this year, a 62% increase year on year.

Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen