China’s State Grid Corporation and China Southern Power Grid have partnered with two local private firms to establish the country’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging operator based in Xiongan New Area in China’s Hebei province.

The new joint venture company, called Xiongan Lianxing Network Technology Company, is capitalised at CNY500m (US$72m) and controls roughly 80% of the country’s 730,000 or so charging piles.

The new company aims to roll out more charging stations across the year in support of the government’s new-energy vehicle policy, which requires carmakers to sell an increasing proportion of new-energy vehicles every year starting in 2019. These mainly include plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

The new joint venture company is looking for other operators of EV charging stations to join its network so that charging infrastructure technologies and facilities can be standardized and optimized. It also plans to launch a new mobile app in the middle of 2019 to help EV users locate nearby charging piles and make online payments.