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Volkswagen Group, Mobvoi Form AI JV

April 6, 2017

Volkswagen Group China and Mobvoi, a Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) company, have entered a strategic partnership to develop and implement AI technologies in cars. Top executives from the two companies signed a contract on 30 March for a 50:50 joint venture between Volkswagen China Investment Co., Ltd. (VCIC) and Mobvoi Inc. targeting at automotive market. With this transaction Volkswagen Group committed an overall investment of 180m USD into the joint automotive activities and further growth story of Mobvoi Inc.

The new joint venture will develop and apply AI technologies to automotive industry. Utilizing Mobvoi’s leading voice recognition, natural language processing technologies, vertical search and proactive search, together with Volkswagen’s leading position as an automotive and mobility player, the joint venture shall continue to explore and provide the answer to the future smart mobility.

Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft as well as President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said: “This partnership is a particular example of Volkswagen’s determination to work with groundbreaking Chinese tech companies like Mobvoi. We are impressed by Mobvoi’s innovative approach of AI technology, and we are pleased to form this joint venture to explore the next generation of smart mobility. With the new joint venture we promote people oriented mobility for our customers in China, along with the potential to be adopted globally.”

Mobvoi Inc. Founder & Chief Executive Officer Zhifei Li said: “We are very honored to form this strategic partnership with Volkswagen Group, the world’s automotive giant who always values new technologies and never stops pioneering in future mobility experience. Mobvoi’s mission has always been re-defining the next generation human-machine interaction and this joint venture will provide us a new platform to do so together with Volkswagen Group. Mobvoi will keep developing cutting edge AI technologies and look forward to bringing car owners the unparalleled user experience.

This strategic partnership represents a key milestone in Volkswagen Group China’s efforts to work with local partners to lead the new era of digitalization and sustainable mobility solutions. It will provide its customers in China with the convenience of AI technology, a key component for the development of autonomous driving and to make daily use of a car even more convenient and to foster the accessibility of mobility for more and more people.

The joint effort between Mobvoi and Volkswagen is a milestone for both AI and Automotive industries. This partnership has shown Mobvoi’s endeavors to integrate its leading AI technologies to consumers’ daily life by establishing cross-industry partnerships. The in-vehicle experience of human machine interaction is one of the key focuses of Mobvoi. Through the partnership with Volkswagen Group China, many car owners will soon experience the difference the new technologies can bring.

The new joint venture will develop products for a wide range of Volkswagen Group models as well as other brands. Initial products will include Mobvoi’s existing smart rearview mirror, which provides navigation, POI (points of interest) search, instant messaging, and on-board infotainment via voice input. In addition to Volkswagen Group models, the joint venture partners believe the technologies will be highly attractive throughout the automotive industry and are open to developing products for other brands.

The partnership with Mobvoi is the latest in a series of cooperative initiatives formed by Volkswagen Group China in the past 12 months under its TOGETHER – Strategy 2025. The Group is continuing to explore further collaborations with leaders in a range of fields as it seeks to transform from a car manufacturer to a leading provider of people-oriented mobility solutions.

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