DiDi Autonomous Driving has announced an investment from Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC Group). The investment, worth up to $149 million, will be made by GAC Group’s wholly-owned subsidiary GAC Capital Co., Ltd. and Guangzhou Development District Investment Group Co., Ltd.

DiDi Autonomous Driving said it will use the funding to invest in research and development and accelerate the launch of products.

According to GlobalData’s deals database, DiDi’s autonomous unit will continue its investment  “in research and development, accelerate the implementation of related products, pursue open collaborations in the industry chain, build a sustainable and open industry ecosystem and expedite the widespread commercial use of autonomous driving technology.”

Currently, DiDi Autonomous Driving operates Robotaxi services in certain areas of Guangzhou and Shanghai with a mixed dispatching model, which combines both autonomous vehicles and human-driving vehicles. The Robotaxi service has been safely operating for 1,200 consecutive days.

“As a leading company in the automotive industry and a pioneer in the global new energy sector, GAC Group has built a strong foothold across the entire value chain. We are pleased to strengthen our strategic partnership with GAC Group,” said Zhang Bo, CTO of DiDi and CEO of DiDi Autonomous Driving. “The strong support from GAC Group will help us accelerate the construction of an open, sustainable, and mixed dispatching network for shared mobility, providing users with safe, convenient, and cost-effective autonomous driving services.”

“GAC Group has always been committed to intelligent manufacturing and autonomous driving at the forefront of the industry,” said Yu Jun, Vice President of GAC Group and Chairman of GAC Capital.

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“DiDi Autonomous Driving has proven exceptional strengths in technology and scenario-based data systems. We are confident in its growth potential and look forward to working with DiDi Autonomous Driving to jointly facilitate the transformation of the transportation and automotive industries.”

GlobalData analyst Jonathon Poskitt said the deal illustrates strong interest in emerging driverless tech in China. “Some Chinese automotive OEMs are positioning themselves for the new mobility value chain. Autonomous drive solutions look like being a real part of the picture in Chinese urban areas fairly soon.

“Didi facilitates a flexible mobility platform that offers a wide range of app-based services. At the same time, automotive companies – OEMs and major suppliers – have something to offer in terms of hardware and tech know-how, as well as potentially supplying vehicles to driverless fleets. Didi is also working closely with Valeo on L4 robotaxi safety tech. There are strong synergistic dynamics at work here.”

Our signals coverage is powered by GlobalData’s Thematic Engine, which tags millions of data items across six alternative datasets — patents, jobs, deals, company filings, social media mentions and news — to themes, sectors and companies. These signals enhance our predictive capabilities, helping us to identify the most disruptive threats across each of the sectors we cover and the companies best placed to succeed.