Alibaba is partnering with Chinese state-owned FAW Group to develop next generation connected vehicles, with a focus on a connected vehicle operating system as well as smart cockpit solutions. As part of the co-operation, Alibaba will provide data intelligence technologies to inform the carmaker’s research and development. The initiative mirrors how the platform engages with FMCG brands selling on its various retail platforms and how one of the world’s fastest-growing companies plans to become completely global by 2036.
The Chinese vehicle market is experiencing rapid development, with Alibaba-rival Tencent recently partnering with Dongfeng Motor Corp to develop connected vehicle services. Outside of Alibaba, other retail-centric ecosystems are moving into the auto space. Amazon recently announced an Alexa-powered, in-vehicle, gas station payment system, being a lead investor in (and future customer of) electronic truck startup Rivian. Walmart is also involved in the space, testing self-driving delivery vehicles with startup Nuro.
Brands should notice how the future of the automotive industry is highly relevant to ecommerce, due to the importance of frictionless transactions, visibility challenges and last mile delivery. As the top retail ecosystems around the world continue to partner, develop, and trial new vehicle technologies for delivery, brands should monitor these developments to prepare for shifting product compatibility requirements.
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