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Ruqi Mobility, a ride hailing startup and subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group), announced that it brought in $153 million (1 billion yuan) in Series A funding. GAC Group, a Chinese automobile company, led the funding round.
The round also included participation from industry leaders, like Pony.ai and WeRide, as well as SPARX, Ruisheng Asia, Guangzhou Industrial Investment Group, Lingnan Business Travel Group and Industrial Control Capital. Earlier this week, Pony.ai acquired a license to operate an autonomous vehicle taxi service in China. It plans to launch a fee-charging robotaxi service in Guangzhou this year.
“In the previous stage of development, the industry focused on the enhancement of algorithm capabilities and vehicle hardware. But with the development of technologies, our emphasis is shifting toward autonomous driving.” Jiang Hua, CEO of Ruqi Travel, said. “Because of this, two world-leading autonomous driving technology companies have chosen to invest strategically in Ruqi Travel at the same time in this round.”
Ruqi plans to use the funding to accelerate the development of its autonomous robotaxi services. By the end of the year, the company plans to expand its fleet to over 200 vehicles. Ruqi also plans on expanding its fleet of connected vehicle-to-everything (V2X) cars to more than 1,000 vehicles.
The startup hopes the recent round of funding will attract new investors, helping the company to build a network of investors from a variety of backgrounds.
Ruqi currently has operations in a variety of areas in southern China, including Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Dongguan. The company hopes to become an important player in China’s greater bay area, which is a hub for business that integrates Hong Kong and Macao with municipalities in China’s Guangdong province.
The company was founded in June 2019, and hopes to expand beyond southern China in the future. GAC Group also recently made a strategic investment in WeRide to further the joint development and manufacturing of a fleet of purpose-built robotaxis.