After half a month of rumors circulating, Qihoo 360, China's largest cybersecurity company with 500 million users, has finally confirmed that it will jump on the car building bandwagon.
On May 10, the company announced on its official Weibo account that it will join hands with electric car startup brand Neta Automobile to build cars.
"Zhoug Hongyi (Chairman and CEO of Qihoo 360) is about to make another appearance, what big changes will he bring to the industry?" The Weibo post reads.
The text of the Weibo poster reads "360 Group Smart Car Strategy," meaning the company will likely announce its detailed plans soon.
On April 26, Neta announced the launch of a Series D round of funding of about RMB 3 billion ($467 million), led by Qihoo 360, but the exact amount was not disclosed. After completing the full investment, 360 is expected to become Neta's second-largest shareholder.
At the Shanghai auto show last month, Zhou had appeared at Neta's booth. Chinese media quoted Neta insiders as saying that the two sides had been in contact for two months and that Zhou had taken his team to the Neta factory to research and experience the products.
Neta is the car brand of Hozon Auto, which was founded in October 2014 with a registered capital of 626 million yuan.
In November 2018, Neta's first model was launched, and to date, Neta has 2 models on sale - Neta V and Neta U.
The brand sold 4,015 units in April, up 393% year-on-year and up 24% from March. From January to April this year, Neta's cumulative sales reached 11,458 units.
The official post-subsidy guide price for the Neta V ranges from RMB 59,900 to 75,900, and the post-subsidy guide price for the Neta U Pro ranges from RMB 99,800 to 159,800.
This pricing allows Neta to avoid direct competition with the US-listed Chinese EV trio NIO, XPeng and Li Auto.
In March, Neta announced an RMB 5 billion credit line from China CITIC Bank, which will be used mainly for Neta's intelligent cockpit and intelligent driving technology development.
China's biggest cybersecurity company eyeing car-making industry