Baidu Ponders Getting Into the EV Business

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Chinese search-engine giant Baidu (BIDU) - Get Report reportedly is pondering getting into the electric vehicle-making business, either producing its own EV or partnering with an existing EV maker that would see it enter Tesla's  (TSLA) - Get Report and NIO's  (NIO) - Get Report turf.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported on Tuesday that Beijing-based Baidu was considering contract manufacturing or setting up a majority-owned venture with automakers to produce electric cars.

Baidu reportedly has held preliminary talks on possible ventures with Zhejiang Geely Holdings, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) and China FAW Group’s Hongqi, Reuters said, citing sources.

The initiative would be a step up from internet peers such as Tencent Holdings (TME) - Get Report, Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report and Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report, which have also developed auto-related technology or invested in smart-car startups.

Baidu also operates autonomous taxi service Go Robotaxi, albeit with safety drivers on board, in Beijing, Changsha and Cangzhou, and plans to expand to 30 cities over the next three years. It gained approval last week to test five cars in Beijing without safety drivers.