Toyota announced on Friday a RMB 1 billion ($139 million) joint venture with self-driving car developer and GAC-Toyota in the hope of accelerating the mass production and deployment of robocars in China. GAC-Toyota, a 50-50 joint venture between Chinese manufacturer GAC Group and the Japanese automaker, will produce an undisclosed number of purely electric vehicles, which are also expected to feature’s autonomous driving technology and be operated through the Silicon Valley-founded company’s autonomous ride-hailing platform. The partners did not give a timeframe for when mass production is going to be achieved. Toyota has been a major backer of after it led a $400 million Series B funding round in the autonomous vehicle startup back in early 2020. The move comes after Toyota revealed a goal to step up electric technology development in China on July 31, as its sales fell 2.8% year-on-year for the first half of 2023, a further decline from the 0.2% dip it posted last year. [Toyota statement, in Chinese]

Correction: An earlier version of the article miscalculated the US equivalent of the investment amount which is $139 million rather than the $140,000 as mentioned.