Jidu Automobile may seek financing of 300 million to 400 million US dollars

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Beijing time on the evening of August 1, according to reports, people familiar with the matter said today that Baidu-backed self-driving electric vehicle startup Jidu Auto is considering seeking about $300 million to $400 million in a new round of financing.

Jidu Automobile is a joint venture company formed by Baidu and Geely, which was officially established in March 2021. Jidu is looking for potential investors, possibly seeking between $300 million and $400 million at a valuation of about $3.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said. Analysts said the financing showed that Jidu could bring in investors other than Baidu and Geely. In January of this year, Jidu Automobile has completed a round of financing of nearly 400 million US dollars, which was jointly increased by Baidu and Geely.

In the Series A round, Jidu seeks a valuation of about $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said. After the completion of the A round of financing, Jidu Automobile has accelerated the process of research and development and mass production, and the mass-produced models are scheduled to be launched in 2023.

The people familiar with the matter also said that discussions with external investors are still in the early stages, and details such as Jidu’s valuation and the size of the proposed financing may still change in the future.

Representatives for Baidu, Geely and Jidu Automobile were not available for comment.

The latest annual report submitted by Baidu shows that Baidu owns a 53.2% stake in Jidu Auto. In June this year, Jidu Automobile released a concept version of its self-driving electric vehicle, which it plans to achieve mass production in 2023. In addition, Jidu also hopes to use the model for a robo-taxi service, which is also scheduled to launch in 2023.

Currently, automakers are racing to commercialize autonomous driving technology. Last month, Tesla’s senior artificial intelligence executive announced his departure, casting doubt on its goal of launching robo-taxi next year and mass-producing it by 2024.

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