Chinese state owned automaker GAC Group announced plans to establish a joint venture with leading local artificial intelligence (AI) company iFlytek to produce smart interior modules for its vehicles.

The joint venture will help GAC Group meet growing local demand for smart and connected cars with interior systems and modules offering advanced automotive digital services.

A GAC Group executive in a WeChat statement said "the car industry has entered into the critical stage of an industrial revolution. Smart, connected and digital functions have become key to industry growth". 

The automaker said the aim of the joint venture was to become an industry benchmark in terms of technology and products and would look to also supply other vehicle manufacturers in China and overseas.

GAC and iFlytek began working together in 2017 and set up a joint research centre in 2018.

iFlytek describes itself as "a leading intelligent speech and voice recognition company". It said it had worked with numerous carmakers on over 1,200 models and that its technology was available in over 25m vehicles currently in use, including GAC models.

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The partnership would help GAC move towards its recently stated goal of selling 3.5m vehicles per year by the end of 2025 by offering electrified, smart and digitalised vehicles.

The automaker sold 1.62m vehicles in the first 10 months of 2020, including those produced by its joint ventures with Toyota and Honda.