Chinese technology giant Baidu has decided to set up an intelligent electric vehicle (EV) company in partnership with auto manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely).

Based in Hong Kong, Geely has been engaged in selling automobiles under the Volvo and Geely brands.

Under the agreement, Baidu will provide intelligent driving capabilities to power passenger vehicles for the new venture.

Baidu co-founder and CEO Robin Li said: “At Baidu, we have long believed in the future of intelligent driving and have over the past decade invested heavily in AI to build a portfolio of world-class self-driving services.

“China has become the world’s largest market for EVs, and we are seeing EV consumers demanding next-generation vehicles to be more intelligent.”

Under the new partnership, Geely will offer its expertise in automobile design and manufacturing.

Li added: “As a top Chinese automaker with global reach, Geely has the unique experience and resources to design, produce and market energy-efficient, reliable and safe automobiles in large scale.

“We believe that by combining Baidu’s expertise in smart transportation, connected vehicles and autonomous driving with Geely’s expertise as a leading automobile and EV manufacturer, the new partnership will pave the way for future passenger vehicles.”

Last October, Baidu started the Apollo Go Robotaxi service in Cangzhou, Hebei province, China.

The move extends the robotaxi coverage and marks a significant milestone in Baidu’s autonomous driving technology development.

The Apollo Go Robotaxi service currently covers 55 pick-up and drop-off stations in Cangzhou, including train stations, schools, hotels, museums, business and industrial areas, as well as other public spaces.