Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese tech giant Baidu Group to strengthen their collaboration in smart connected vehicle services in China by exploring new opportunities for advanced technology.

The two companies have worked since 2014 on development of connected services such as navigation systems, voice recognition and other connected or smart content.

The joint announcement was made at the Yosemite Hotel in Beijing at an event attended by Song Chang-hyun, the head of advanced vehicle platforms (AVP) at HMG, and Wang Yunpeng, vice president of Baidu Group and head of the company’s Intelligent Driving Group (IDG).

The two companies said they aimed to lead China’s rapidly evolving connected vehicle market by building a broad based business ecosystem using advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), in areas such as connectivity, autonomous driving, intelligent transportation systems and cloud computing. They also plan to develop compliance products using Baidu’s smart cloud to help the automaker meet China’s tightening data regulations.

HMG, including Hyundai Company and Kia Corporation, has struggled to recover ground lost in the Chinese vehicle market since achieving record sales of 1.6m units in 2016 following the political fall out between the two countries over South Korean deployment of the US’ THAAD missile defence shield. Last year, the group sold just 330,000 units in the world’s largest auto market.

Earlier this month, Kia began production of its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) in China, the EV5 compact SUV, for sale locally and for export to south east Asia countries such as Thailand plus Australia and New Zealand.

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At the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition this month, Hyundai introduced its Ioniq 5 N high-performance BEV as well as new Santa Fe and Tucson SUVs.