Volkswagen is betting big on China, expanding its footprint in the world’s second-largest economy — despite a slowdown in growth.
The German automaker announced a $180 million investment into Chinese firm Mobvoi on Thursday. The tie-up will focus on implementing Mobvoi’s artificial intelligence technology, such as its voice recognition feature and a smart rearview mirror, to help improve drivers’ experiences.
“We are impressed by Mobvoi’s innovative approach of AI technologies, and we are pleased to form this joint venture to explore the next generation of smart mobility,” Jochem Heizmann, CEO of Volkswagen China said in the joint statement.
Despite slower growth in China, Volkswagen has continued to invest heavily in the world’s second-largest economy. It’s a hugely important market for the firm — 40 percent of its passenger car deliveries worldwide went to China last year. And it’s key for Volkswagen as the company continues to battle fallout after it was found to be cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests.