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Alibaba-backed autonomous driving startup AutoX bags eight-figure Series Pre-B investment round

AutoX has led pioneering autonomous driving research in China.

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Chinese autonomous vehicle startup AutoX confirmed today it has completed its Series Pre-B financing round, taking in “tens of millions” of dollars, local tech media 36Kr reported. No specific figures regarding the deal were released.

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

The firm established a partnership with Shanghai authorities in September 2019 to roll out 100 robotaxis by early 2020 in a demo zone located in Jiading district. The company is also testing its cars in Shenzen’s crowded central business district, according to 36Kr.

The startup announced at CES 2020 earlier this month that it has joined with Fiat Chrysler to roll out a fleet of robotaxis in China, which are expected to be launched in Shenzhen and Shanghai this year, the firm told 36Kr.

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 robotaxi 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.