Autonomous Driving Startup Zongmu Technology Raises $190 Million from Investors Including Xiaomi, Qualcomm

Chinese autonomous driving system startup Zongmu Technology announced that it has raised a total of $190 million in its Series D round of funding, including from a Xiaomi-backed investment fund.

Zongmu closed its latest financing round in three tranches, with the Series D3 round exclusively led by Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Other investors including Fosun Capital Group, Shanghai Technology Venture Capital (STVC) and Industrial Bank also participated, as well as returning investors namely Legend Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Jadex Capital.

The company added that it is among the first group of companies Xiaomi invested in after the smartphone giant announced its foray into the competitive electric car industry in March.

The Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund is a 12 billion yuan fund established in 2017 by Xiaomi, the Hubei provincial government and the government-backed Yangtze River Industry Fund to promote the tech giant’s ecosystem of products and services.

Zongmu’s previous Series D1 round was led by Japanese automotive components manufacturer Denso Corporation alongside other participants including Chongqing-based Liangjiang Capital, property developer Huantaihu Group and Jadex Capital, the company added. Its Series D2 round was co-led by Shenzhen-based Cowin Capital and Gaoyuan Capital.

“Zongmu Technology has been building strong capabilities from assisted driving to autonomous driving, from low-speed autonomous driving to full-stack autonomous solutions, and in-depth cooperation with strategic partners through a flexible business model to empower OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to actively promote the sustained development of China’s autonomous driving industry and the mass production of high-level autonomous driving systems,” Tang Rui, Zongmu founder and chief executive officer said in written remarks.

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Founded in 2013, Zongmu is a provider of ADS (autonomous driving system) and ADAS (advanced driver assistance system)-related technologies, services and products, including an autonomous valet parking system. It operates an overseas R&D centre in Stuttgart, Germany and manufacturing divisions in Xiamen and Huzhou.

The company also counts as its partners a number of Chinese automakers including Hong Qi, Dongfeng’s premium brand Voyah, Changan Automobile and BAIC Group.

The Shanghai-headquartered company is considering a listing on the city’s Nasdaq-style STAR board, according to Bloomberg citing Tang.

Xiaomi on March 30 announced a $10 billion plan to build electric vehicles, as the company seeks to diversify beyond its current specialization in smartphones and consumer electronics. The move follows in the footsteps of fellow domestic tech giants such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei in its entrance to the world’s largest auto market, the Chinese mainland. Local startups including Nio, Xipeng and Li Auto are already competing with Tesla in the crowded arena.

Xiaomi’s first vehicle, expected to launch in three years, will be either an SUV or a sedan, co-founder and CEO Lei Jun previously said. It is likely to carry a price tag between 100,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan ($15,000-$46,000), he added.