Alibaba-backed Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup XPeng has raised nearly $400 million from investors, including Xiaomi Corp, in a new funding round, Reuters reported Tuesday (Nov. 12), citing sources.
The new investments put Guangzhou-headquartered XPeng at a valuation of almost $4 billion, the sources told Reuters. The previous funding round put the company’s valuation at $3.57 billion.
The crowded Chinese EV space has startups competing for funds and attention amid government cuts to subsidies. EVs are striving to speed up the development and compete with Tesla and other global leaders.
“With Xiaomi, XPeng will explore more applications of smartphone technologies on intelligent connected vehicles, said one of the sources,” Reuters stated.
The new funds are mostly earmarked for autonomous driving-related software and mass production of XPeng’s G3 sport-utility vehicle model and P7 sedan.
XPeng Motors designs and manufactures automobiles that are seamlessly integrated with the internet and use the latest advances in artificial intelligence, according to its website.
“We are at the crossroads of a profound transition,” XPeng’s website states. “Smart mobility solutions are replacing traditional transportation. This evolution is driven by visionary thinking and empowered by big data. We drive change.”
At the Shanghai Auto Show in April, Alibaba said it is “developing apps for connected cars that will let drivers find restaurants, queue up and make reservations at restaurants, order food and eventually complete a plethora of other tasks using voice, motion or touch control.”
Alibaba added that “third-party developers are invited to make their in-car apps, which will run on Alibaba’s operating system AliOS.”
This stands as Alibaba’s latest effort to grab an early piece of the emerging ecosystem for connected vehicles. For instance, Honda previously announced it was teaming up with Alibaba Group’s AutoNavi business to develop new services for connected cars. The service centers around enabling drivers to make reservations using AutoNavi maps, as well as conduct payments with Alipay — and permitting drivers to pay for gas and parking via Alipay.