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Electric cars in China

China's AutoX raises 'tens of millions' of dollars in fundraising

Alibaba-backed startup has led research in autonomous driving

Shenzhen-based self-driving startup AutoX plans to launch its fleet of robotaxis in two Chinese cities this year. (Photo courtesy of AutoX)

BEIJING -- AutoX, a Chinese startup that develops autonomous vehicles, said Monday it had completed its Series pre-B financing round, taking in "tens of millions" of dollars, local tech media 36Kr reported.

Shenzhen-based Hongzhao Fund led the round, which concluded at the end of 2019, while Chaoshan Capital and Shenzhen IMT Industry Group also participated. The company did not reveal actual figures.

The fresh funding will be used to expand AutoX's domestic market presence and optimize its operations in China. The company will seek a new Series B fundraising round soon, according to Jianxiong Xiao, its founder and CEO.

AutoX was established in 2016 in Silicon Valley and has since opened research centers in several Chinese cities including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. Last September, it raised $100 million in Series A financing led by state-owned automaker Dongfeng Motor Group. Its current backers include Alibaba Group Holding and Chinese automaker SAIC Motor.

AutoX formed a partnership with Shanghai authorities in September 2019 to roll out 100 autonomous taxis by early 2020 in a designated zone in Jiading district. The company is also testing its cars in Shenzhen's crowded central business district, according to 36Kr. It said that it had formed a partnership with Fiat Chrysler to roll out these autonomous taxis.

AutoX is also seeking opportunities overseas to expand its autonomous vehicle development. It announced a partnership with Swedish electric vehicle maker NEVS last July to roll out the first fleet in Europe by the end of 2020. The same month, the firm was also granted a license to operate commercial self-driving taxis in California.

36Kr is KrASIA's parent company.

KrASIA is a digital media company focused on technology-driven businesses and trends across the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of 36Kr, a tech news portal based in Beijing. Nikkei has a minority stake in 36Kr.

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