DiDi Autonomous Driving has announced a $149m investment from Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group), an entity backed by the Chinese government.

The investment will be made by GAC Group’s wholly owned subsidiary GAC Capital and Guangzhou Development District Investment Group.

DiDi Autonomous Driving said it will use the funding to invest in research and development and accelerate the launch of products.

The funds will also be used to support industry partnerships, create an open and sustainable industrial ecosystem, and accelerate the commercial adoption of autonomous driving technology.

Currently, DiDi Autonomous Driving provides Robotaxi services in select parts of Guangzhou and Shanghai using a mixed dispatching methodology that comprises both autonomous vehicles and human-driven vehicles.

DiDi Autonomous Driving CEO Zhang Bo said: “As a leading company in the automotive industry and a pioneer in the global new energy sector, GAC Group has built a strong foothold across the entire value chain. We are pleased to strengthen our strategic partnership with GAC Group.

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“The strong support from GAC Group will help us accelerate the construction of an open, sustainable, and mixed dispatching network for shared mobility, providing users with safe, convenient, and cost-effective autonomous driving services.”

GAC Group vice president GAC Capital chairman Yu Jun said: “DiDi Autonomous Driving has proven exceptional strengths in technology and scenario-based data systems. We are confident in its growth potential and look forward to working with DiDi Autonomous Driving to jointly facilitate the transformation of the transportation and automotive industries.”

In August 2023, DiDi Autonomous Driving’s parent Didi Global (DiDi) reached an agreement with electric vehicle (EV) company Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology (XPeng).

As part of the deal, DiDi said it will sell some business assets related to its Smart EV development project to XPeng.

XPeng will use those resources for launching an A-class Smart EV vehicle in 2024 that is now being developed under the project name “MONA”, DiDi said at the time.