• In a prepared statement, Alibaba Group’s senior investment director, Ethan Xie, said, “We believe there is huge potential in the development of leading-edge technology like augmented reality and its application to various industries, like WayRay’s AR navigation system in the auto sector.
  • Alibaba made its debut in the car industry last summer, when the RX5, a smart car it developed with SAIC (one of China’s “big four” state-owned auto manufacturers — opened for pre-orders.
  • The RX5 uses Alibaba’s Yun operating system and the company hopes to make the vehicle part of an Internet-of-Things ecosystem that will include its other smart hardware and Internet services like Alipay.
  • But Alibaba’s smart cars are already up against rivals from other big Chinese tech companies like LeEco, which bills its electric car LeSee as “the first mobility ecosystem on wheels,” and Baidu, which is developing smart car technology and autonomous vehicles with BAIC, another of China’s big four state-owned automakers.
  • WayRay also said that it will partner with Banma Technologies — a joint venture between Alibaba Group and SAIC — to create an augmented-reality navigation and entertainment system for a car that will be launched by Banma in 2018.

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@TechCrunch: “Alibaba invests in WayRay, a maker of augmented-reality dashboards for smart cars by @catherineshu” open tweet »

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