Just four months after sealing a USD 310 million Series B round in January, Guangzhou-based autonomous vehicle developer WeRide said on Thursday that it has closed a Series C investment that brings the firm to a USD 3.3 billion valuation, according to a press release from the company.
WeRide did not disclose the exact sum collected in the latest round from investors like IDG Capital and Qiming Ventures, only stating the amount to be in the “hundreds of millions” of US dollars.
“With this round of funding, WeRide will continue to invest in R&D and commercialization, with the aim of delivering large-scale autonomous mobility in the coming future,” said Tony Han, founder and CEO of WeRide. Han led Baidu’s autonomous driving unit before founding WeRide.
Early this year, WeRide obtained a license to run ride-hailing services in Guangzhou, where it has been conducting test drives for its autonomous cars. The company is also testing its Mini Robobus service in Guangzhou and Nanjing.
Baidu is now opening up its self-driving services for limited public use. In early May, the company launched a paid driverless autonomous taxi service in Beijing, becoming the first commercial robotaxi service in China. Other players like AutoX and Didi are also developing unmanned fleets in Shanghai. AutoX’s robotaxi services are free for public passengers in a designated part of Shanghai’s Jiading district, while Didi’s customers can request free rides in self-driving vehicles within some areas of the city.
All robotaxi services that operate in China at the moment must have a safety operator in the driver’s seat and ready to take control of the vehicle if needed. In April, WeRide’s COO Zhang Li told KrASIA that the company expects to roll out truly driverless robotaxi services with no safety operators by 2021.
This article is part of KrASIA’s “Key Stat” series, where KrASIA picks and presents the most significant figures of the day’s technology and business world.