Hyundai, Kia step up cooperation with Chinese IT firms for future mobility

By Kim Bo-gyung

Hyundai heir in China amid carmaker struggling to recover sales

  • Published : Jun 13, 2018 - 15:56
  • Updated : Jun 13, 2018 - 17:39

South Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor has signed a partnership with Chinese artificial intelligence startup DeepGlint, as part of measures to beef up “open innovation” with startups in future mobility, the company said Wednesday.

The deal was revealed by Hyundai Motor heir apparent Chung Eui-sun at the annual CES Asia 2018 underway in Shanghai, China, for three days until Friday.

Chung was making a public appearance for the first time since the conglomerate dropped plans for governance overhaul last month in the face of market opposition. He appears to have visited the show to restore the company’s brand image and foster sales growth in the world’s second-biggest market, where the carmaker has been struggling to recover sales.

Hyundai saw its sales decline 17 percent on-year in the first quarter of this year, and sold about 54,000 units per month on average, the company said.

Hyundai’s sister firm Kia Motors, participating in the event for the first time, introduced its infotainment system tailored for the Chinese market and developed with local IT firm Tencent.

“Regardless of size and industry, Hyundai is open to any collaboration and partnership across regions, and China is where we see opportunities that will lead to groundbreaking solutions that shape our future,” Chung said during a press conference at CES Asia 2018.

Chung took a thorough look at multiple booths -- including those of Chinese IT solution and service provider Neusoft, Chinese renewable energy company Hanergy, China-based electric vehicle startup Byton, Sharp, Benz, Continental -- examining the latest technologies displayed by IT electronics and automotive companies, Hyundai said.

Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun (right) speaks at a press conference held to announce the carmaker’s partnership with Chinese artificial intelligence startup DeepGlint, at CES Asia 2018, taking place at Shanghai New International Expo Center on Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor)

Beijing-based AI startup DeepGlint, established in 2013, develops deep learning technologies and 3D image analysis.

Hyundai’s latest partnership comes as it has been pursuing open innovation with global firms and startups to gain a foothold in the fast changing future mobility market.

An open innovation center is slated to open in Beijing at the end of this year, marking one of Hyundai’s four strategic innovation centers, the company said.

Hyundai has so far opened three innovation centers -- in Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Silicon Valley -- where prospective startups and Hyundai collaborate across various future technologies, including AI, autonomous driving, and robotics, to name a few.

To acquire first-hand information on up-and-coming Chinese startups, Chung had his eyes set on local startups during the Beijing motor show in April and he met about four startups in the AI, car sharing and self-driving sectors.

Joining a list of global automakers and ICT firms, Hyundai has also agreed to take part in Baidu’s Apollo Project, a self-driving project managed by China’s largest search engine operator to provide autonomous driving technologies in the form of a software platform, the company said.

At its first debut in the show, Kia Motors introduced infotainment systems designed exclusively for the Chinese market with QQ Music, one of Tencent Music’s three music streaming services.

The system, which offers voice recognition-based music streaming and web searching among other features, will be installed in Kia Motors’ mass produced cars to be released in China from 2019, the company said.

Seeking to roll out optimized mobility solutions, Kia Motors also presented a detailed strategy for future mobility named “Mobility-A.C.E”, short for autonomous, connected, eco and electric, the company said.

By Kim Bo-gyung (