Chinese tech firm Tencent is reportedly testing its own autonomous driving system, looking to become the latest player to enter the booming sector, reports Bloomberg, which is citing people familiar with the matter.
The size of the autonomous driving market is soon expected to reach 42 billion US dollars. Tencent reportedly hopes to capitalize on its mapping and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
The self-driving vehicle market in China has so far attracted investment from Alphabet's Waymo and Tencent's local rival Baidu.
Those close to Tencent say the company has begun testing the prototype for its self-driving system internally. However, the progress of the development is unknown.
If the reports are accurate, Tencent would become the biggest Chinese company to enter the autonomous driving market. In March, the tech giant bought a 5 percent stake of Tesla and is now Tesla's fourth-largest shareholder. Tencent is also a big investor of China's ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing and mapmaker NavInfo.
Its domestic rival Baidu has invested billions of dollars on AI and self-driving research, with plans to get its self-driving vehicles on the roads sometime next year.
The autonomous driving field is considered a potentially lucrative sector which can also help Chinese manufacturers enhance their innovation ability and competitiveness globally.