Chairman of Tencent Holdings and billionaire, Ma Huateng, signed an agreement Monday with the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones and some touch screens for Teslas and others to develop Internet-connected cars, including the all-electric variety.
While Tencent Holdings is best known for creating the instant-messaging app WeChat, that could possibly change after its most recent partnership. Huateng has plans to use its Internet platform, Hon Hai’s assembly capabilities, and China Harmony’s automotive experience in hopes of possibly creating smart electric vehicles.
Although not much more is is known other than the partnership itself, Tencent isn’t the only Chinese internet giant planning on entering the car manufacturing business in the near future.
Tencent’s adversary in the tech market, Alibaba Group Holding, has already invested $160 million into the state-controlled SAIC Motor Corp with with the potential of releasing an internet-connected vehicle by next year.
Chief Executive Robin Li of China’s largest search engine Baidu Inc. is even more confident, saying there’s a possibility that Baidu could release an autonomous vehicle as soon as this year.
When it comes to preparation for creating an electric vehicles Tencent’s partners have not been slacking. Just last December China Harmony signed off to purchase Green Field Motor Co. from Xinnengyuan Automotive Holding. Green Field is responsible in making an all-electric SUV that costs less than $10,000.