Chinese are willing to pay for "Internet cars" — so-called because they are made by Internet firms — which feature new technologies like autonomous driving, smart in-vehicle systems and devices, and various mobile and connected services, industry reports said yesterday.
More than 201 startups relating to smart driving have raised funds worth around 60 billion yuan (.7 billion) in the last four years, covering projects on autonomous driving, new energy, machine-human interfaces and smart in-vehicle systems and devices, said tech media TMTPost, which released its first smart driving report recently.
Since 2013, Internet giants including Google and Apple have dominated the sector, which has generated attention and interest in smart cars. In China, Baidu and Alibaba have teamed up with car makers to jointly explore the future of "Internet cars."
Last week, China's biggest computer maker Lenovo formed a joint smart car computing platform with Nio, a Shanghai-based smart car startup.
And 76 percent of Chinese are willing to purchase cars made by Internet firms in the near future, compared with 45 percent globally, said research firm Capgemini, which tracked 8,000 consumers in eight countries.
Connected cars and artificial intelligence technology are "the next big things" in China, said Nick Gill, chairman of Capgemini's Global Automotive practice.