Baidu is no longer satisfied with just ruling the search engine game in China. Now, it's got its sights set on the auto industry, and it's not going about it timidly. Partnering with Geely, the tech giant is about to unveil its brand new creation, the Jiyue 01. And, if the latest regulatory green lights are anything to go by, it's all systems go for this automotive newbie.
Baidu's car-making venture, Jidu Auto, seemed to be hibernating for a while. Six months of relative silence, including missing a fancy auto show in Shanghai, had many of us raising eyebrows. But just like that plot twist in your favorite series, here comes the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) with a surprise update: the Jiyue 01 has received regulatory clearance. With just a short public feedback window left (you've got till August 21, folks), the Jiyue 01 seems all set to enter the world’s busiest EV market.
Jiyue 01's real identity was originally Jidu Robo-01. Yep, it's like an automotive superhero with a secret name. And speaking of names, let's clear up some confusion. The Jiyue brand is not the same as Jidu, the rebranding experience is quite confusing and we don’t know the reasons for it. Jiyue didn't just pop into existence. The foundation was set with Jidu, a venture that was 55% Baidu and 45% Geely. While Jidu introduced the Robo-01 and Robo-02 cars, Jiyue seems to be where the heart of innovation lies.
What's Jiyue's game plan? Well, not to be just another car in the parking lot. The brand is all about "smart mobility," catering to the tech-loving audience in China. The company is planning on setting up its own charging network for electric vehicles as well. The Jiyue 01 is crafted on Geely's Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), and it comes infused with Baidu's technological prowess.
The Chinese auto landscape is undergoing a seismic shift with increased regulations. Yet, amidst this, Baidu sees an opportunity. If it succeeds with Jiyue, it could well chart the course for more tech giants to dip their toes into the automotive pool. Interestingly, another tech behemoth, Xiaomi, seems to be dragging its feet in the car-making arena, despite having plans for a big launch by 2024. But for now, all eyes are on Baidu and its upcoming Jiyue adventure.