Banma, the connected car company backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, announced on July 14 that it has completed an RMB 3 billion ($464 million) capital increase from its existing shareholders.
The capital increase was jointly completed by Alibaba, SAIC Motor, SDIC, and Yunfeng Capital.
The funds will be used to increase investment in operating system research and development to help the automotive industry become smart and digital, said Banma co-CEO Zhang Chunhui, adding that the company will open a new round of financing to industry capital.
Banma's Smart Cockpit OS will be available to multiple car brands in the second half of 2021 through 2022, the company said.
Banma launched its AI platform Tianpu on July 10, incorporating technology from Alibaba DAMO Academy and Tmall Genie to provide AI interaction, sensing and scenario-based services.
SAIC Motor and Alibaba released the Roewe RX5, an Internet car first equipped with Banma's OS in 2016. Banma said on July 8 that this model can be upgraded via OTA to use the next-generation system Banma VENUS.
As an open platform for smart connected cars based on AliOS, Banma was established in 2015 with investment from the Smart Connected Car Fund, a joint initiative of Alibaba and SAIC Motor.
Banma received RMB 1.6 billion in Series A funding in 2018 for talent acquisition and technology development.
Banma mainly provides smart car operating systems, smart car solutions and digital transportation solutions for the automotive and transportation industries, and has been applied to more than 40 models and 1 million vehicles of SAIC Motor, FAW Group, FAW-Volkswagen and other car companies.
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