Ford announced it partnership with Alibaba to enter in to the electric vehicle industry in China. The joint venture is expected to put 15 electric or hybrid models for sale in China by 2025.
The vision of the partnership is unclear as of now, but “strategic collaborations” are taking place in the country to develop direct sales channels to reach out to larger audience. The automaker could use Alibaba’s T-Mall service to target consumers.
Jim Hackett, President and CEO of Ford, said in a statement, “China is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic digital markets, thriving on innovation with customers’ online and offline experiences converging rapidly. Collaborating with leading technology players builds on our vision for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionize consumers’ mobility experiences.”
William C. Ford Jr., Executive Chairman of Ford also identified the significance of China. He told New York Times that it is evident that China will lead globally in electric vehicle development.
Beyond development of sales channels and increasing customer base, Ford also looks forward to work in collaboration with Alibaba on the technology aspect. It could use AliOS operating system, digital marketing services, and cloud computing for big data analytics.
Alibaba announced its first partnership with Chinese firm SAIC in 2016. SAIC uses AliOS in its vehicles. Though Ford might not use Alibaba’s operating system, but the partnership is the first instance of a collaboration between a Chinese conglomerate and an overseas automotive manufacturer.