Haomo's new funding is the first in the autonomous driving space after China's Lunar New Year holiday, and one of the few large amounts raised in the space during the capital winter of the past couple of years.

(Image credit: Haomo)

Haomo.AI Technology, a Chinese autonomous driving startup backed by Great Wall Motor, has secured a new round of funding, the first in the autonomous driving space after China's Lunar New Year holiday and one of the few large fundings in the space during the capital winter of the past few years.

Haomo secured more than RMB 100 million ($14 million) in Series B1 funding from Chengdu Wufa Private Equity Fund Management, a fund backed by the government of Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province, according to a statement today.

The financing will be used to strengthen research and development and to support the Wuhou district -- the center of Chengdu -- to develop robotics, Haomo said.

Haomo will explore the application of autonomous driving in different scenarios, such as cleaning and security inspection, and help Wuhou establish itself as a demonstration zone for robotics in China, said the startup's CEO, Gu Weihao.

In the past two years, funding in autonomous driving has become scarce as the macro economy faces challenges, and some tech giants have even cut back their efforts in the field.

In May 2023, Shanghai Securities News said in a report that DAMO Academy, a technology research institute under Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, no longer retained its autonomous driving business and team, which was merged into its logistics arm Cainiao.

A subsequent report by another local media outlet, Jiemian, said that not all of DAMO Academy's self-driving business had been merged into Cainiao, but that it had made layoffs of up to about 70 percent.

In July 2023, GAC Group-backed self-driving startup HoloMatic closed an RMB 300 million Series C3 funding round, the only major funding in the sector in all of 2023, according to information monitored by CnEVPost.

Haomo announced new job openings at a time when many other companies around the world are laying off employees, according to its statement. The company expects ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) penetration in passenger cars to reach 70 percent in China by 2025.

The year 2024 will witness the intelligent driving industry taking off, and the company will introduce products with the greatest value for money to more clients to scale up, said Haomo's chairman Zhang Kai.

Haomo was the former self-driving division of Great Wall Motor and became an independent company in November 2019. Its core team is partly from Great Wall Motor's smart driving R&D team and partly from tech companies including Baidu and .

To date, Haomo's driver assistance system, HPilot, is available in more than 20 models and has helped drivers accumulate more than 120 million kilometers, according to its statement.

In addition, Haomo's fleet of level 4 self-driving vans has delivered nearly 300,000 grocery parcels for supermarkets in Beijing.

($1 = RMB 7.1898)

Chinese self-driving startup Haomo unveils new ADAS kits set to dramatically drive adoption of smart driving features