Alibaba and Ford team up in Chinese market

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba has signed an agreement with Ford Motor, which focuses on strategic cooperation. The target of that cooperation is to combine forces and jointly explore areas of development such as connectivity, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, but no other details have been released so far.

According to a press release, "the agreement aims to explore new ways to redefine how consumers purchase and own vehicles, as well as how to leverage digital channels to identify new retail opportunities."

The agreement between Alibaba and Ford is to "explore a pilot study" for new retail opportunities, it added.

Both Ford and Alibaba have big ambitions when it comes to electric vehicles and autonomous driving - especially when it comes to China.

“When I think of where E.V.s are going, it’s clearly the case that China will lead the world in E.V. development,” executive chairman William C. Ford Jr told the New York Times.

Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford, said in statement that “China is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic digital markets, thriving on innovation with customers’ online and offline experiences converging rapidly. Collaborating with leading technology players builds on our vision for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionise consumers’ mobility experiences.”

General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler and Tesla have also announced plans and investments in the Chinese market in recent months.

Last year, 507,000 battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold in China, a growth of more than 50%, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, with this year's sales predicted to hit 800,000, Reuters reports.