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SAIC Motor and Hier work together for smart car, smart homes

Chinese carmaker SAIC Motor Corp. and Haier Group Corp. have signed an initial joint venture agreement to build smart roads and smart homes, according to two people who are familiar with the matter.

The duo will co-operate in areas that include driving independence and the development of a lightweight device and set up an investment fund in areas such as smart production, people say, asking not to be named to discuss non-public information.

The agreement, signed on Thursday, included Haier’s investment in a SAIC unit to be developed to develop private driving technology at Yangshan Port south of Shanghai, people said, without disclosing financial details.

SAIC shares rose 0.2% from 9:55 a.m. Friday in Shanghai, while Haier rose 0.5% in the city and its Hong Kong-based shares increased by 1.4%, accounting for their first profit this week.

A SAIC representative confirmed that the two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding and said more details would be announced in due course. A Haier representative was not immediately available for comment.

Chinese car manufacturers and behemoth technology are exerting a combined momentum in electric vehicles and private driving, coming together in many projects as investors flock to space, raising the prices of pre-made companies in transportation.

SAIC and e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. unveiled their IM brand EV sedan in January and are expected to begin taking orders next month. Carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and Baidu Inc. A major search engine said in January they would jointly produce smart EVs, and smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp said in February they were monitoring progress in the industry.

Alternatively, Apple Inc. monitored to see if it chooses a partner to drive the EV venture.

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