BEIJING/SHANGHAI: Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo has set up a subsidiary in Shanghai, according to a business registration filing, the latest sign that the US internet giant is attempting to make new inroads into China.
Waymo established a wholly-owned company called Huimo Business Consulting (Shanghai) on May 22 in Shanghai’s free trade zone with registered capital of 3.5 million yuan ($509,165), according to China’s National Enterprise Information Publicity System.
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Its scope includes business and logistics consultancy as well as services related to the design and testing of self-driving car parts, said the document, which also listed the firm’s legal representative as Kevin Bradley Vosen.
Waymo on Friday confirmed that it had set up a legal entity in China several months ago and has people working there.
Alphabet’s Google, which quit China’s search engine market in 2010, has been actively seeking ways to re-enter the sector in the country where many of its products are blocked by regulators.
In August, Reuters reported that the company plans to launch a version of its search engine in China that will block some websites and search terms. Google’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has told staff that development is in an early stage.
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Google has also joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou and launched an artificial intelligence game on Tencent’s social media app WeChat.
Waymo’s move also comes as China makes a major push into autonomous smart vehicles to keep pace with the United States in a global race to develop self-driving vehicles.
Earlier this year, Beijing issued licenses to automakers allowing self-driving vehicles to be road-tested in Shanghai, including Shanghai-based SAIC Motor and electric vehicle start-up NIO.
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