SAIC and Alibaba to launch an “Internet car” at Auto China 2016

SAIC Motor, one of the four largest state-owned Chinese automakers, announced what they are calling the world’s first “Internet car”, Roewe RX5, will be on stage at the 2016 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China 2016) on April 25. The car will go on sale in the second half of 2016.

Last year, SAIC Motor and China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba reached a strategic agreement, jointly setting up a fund of RMB one billion (USD 154 million) to launch Internet car projects. The two aim to attract more vehicle manufactures to produce Internet automotive products.

The companies describe an Internet car as a car that is fully connected to the Internet, featuring various functions including navigation, music, social networking, entertainment, etc. They envision people-to-car communication that will expand to areas of car-to-car, car-to-road, and car-to-infrastructure communication. The Internet related features will increase the value of the vehicle.

“We want to introduce the Internet as part of a car’s infrastructure. With this infrastructure, real cars run on the Internet and have more follow-up functions and more extensions,” Alibaba Group Chief Technology Officer Wang Jian said.

The Roewe RX5 will be equipped with a self-developed Ali YunOS operating system.

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