[BEIJING] An automotive venture backed by China tech giant Tencent aims to launch an electric self-driving car before 2020, entering a crowded field dominated by US-based Tesla Motors, the chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday.
Future Mobility, backed by Tencent and Hon Hai Precision Industries, is one of an expanding field of China-backed ventures that aim to take on Tesla Motors Inc as green energy car sales boom in China.
Although the venture seeks to produce premium cars like Tesla, it will attempt a different strategy from the US-based company that began with relatively limited production and focuses on a single model at a time, CEO Carsten Breitfeld said in an interview.
"Right from the beginning we define the platform, right from the beginning we define the production process to be mass production, and right from the beginning we think of more than one model, a family of models, defined from this platform," Mr Breitfeld said.
Future Mobility also stands out for poaching its leadership away from big-name tech and autos companies.
Mr Breitfeld formerly led the BMW i series electric car division and brought the core team with him to the new venture, with others joining from Tesla, Alphabet's Google and Daimler's Mercedes.
Future Mobility is in the midst of closing its Series A round of funding, which also includes dealership chain China Harmony New Energy Auto, Mr Breitfeld said.
He declined to give financial terms of the first round or name other potential investors that the company is in talks with.