Traditionally a time for automakers to flex their muscles, the Auto Shanghai expo this year held a surprise: It was China’s big tech firms that took the spotlight, outshining some of the country’s leading EV makers. 

Huawei made a big splash, unveiling its complete self-driving car technologies as it gears up to compete as a central player in China’s autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. Baidu, China’s biggest internet search firm, was not to be outdone, proclaiming itself the undisputed AV industry leader. The company said it expected to equip 1 million new cars in five years with its software.

Some of the biggest startup unicorns such as chipmaker Horizon Robotics were also busy, forging alliances with a list of automakers during the event as they work to establish themselves in the booming industry.

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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