Google and Tesla are squaring off against each other for the future of self-driving cars, so it's no surprise to see China's tech giants follow suit. Both Tencent and Baidu have announced that they'll be getting into the autonomous vehicle game in the last 24 hours. Tencent is teaming up with iPhone assembler Foxconn, as well as a local luxury car outfit, to create "smart vehicles."Foxconn's ambitions in the space have been known since last year, when CEO Terry Gou admitted that he wanted to get into the transportation business. Crucially, the partnership is looking to produce a low-cost car that'll meet the wallets of China's burgeoning middle class that'll be priced no higher than $15,000.
There's less information available concerning Baidu's competing product. At a science and technology conference yesterday, CEO Robin Li told the audience that his company's first self-driving car would launch later in 2015. Rather than pair off with a gadget manufacturer like its rival, Baidu will team up with an as-yet unnamed car maker in the area. It looks like either group will have a better shot at winning Chinese hearts and minds than Tesla -- which has only managed to sell 2,500 units since entering the country last year.