Stainless steel "time capsules" containing paper scrolls were given out at a news conference to announce that three Chinese companies in telematics, Internet and car manufacturing had joined hands.
Internet car service platform Yongche Inc, domestic carmaker Chery Automobile Co and telematics company Pateo Corp established a joint venture to build fully electric smart cars, not for sale, but for a sharing service.
"The products are built for sharing through the Internet and will have no emissions," said Zhou Hang, founder and CEO of Yongche Inc, on Feb 3 at the news conference in Beijing.
He said the future products would be intelligent, connected, shared and fully electric and that the latest transportation solution would disrupt the conventional vehicle experience.
The smart cars will be designed to interact with the environment. The vehicles will use information from surrounding traffic conditions and react or provide information to the driver to make informed decisions, according to Steve Man, Bloomberg Intelligence Auto Analyst.
Other Chinese Internet companies have already moved into the automotive field. Baidu Inc joined hands with Shanghai General Motors Co in January to create the CarLife telematics platform.
In the same month, Leshi Holding (Beijing) Co announced plans for its smart, Internet-based electric car to use LeOS, after investing in electric car design and engineering company Atieva Inc in the summer last year.
The three companies in the new joint venture have worked in the auto market for years.
In 2010, Pateo Corp started to mass-produce its first automotive connectivity system for passenger cars and released the first generation iVoka system in 2011.
In 2011, Yongche Inc launched its new website and started its pick-up and car sharing platform through smart phone apps and social network sites.
In 2013, Chery Automobile Co unveiled its individual public transport system concept, @Ant electric concept vehicles, which used telematics technology and connected to the Internet and cloud computing system.
It shares information and uses wireless charging.
Under the new joint venture, Chery will provide the car manufacturing facility and Pateo will provide its iVoka Operating System. Months ago, the team expand to three with Zhou whose Yongche Inc has an edge in car sharing.
A total of 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) was injected into the new company, which is going through the registration process in Anhui province.
The joint venture was named Yiqitaixing, which in Chinese uses one character from each of the three companies.
Yin said the business model is based on the Internet and will embrace the spirit of opening and sharing. "The key is in the business model's innovation and the new company will be led by Internet companies," he said.
Yiqitaixing is due to release its fully electric smart car model in 2016.
Zhou also revealed the company's amibition to become world's top electric carmaker in 2018 with 150,000 units on the roads.
"The new company will formulate a completely new operation model leading the country and we three companies expect to lead the world," Zhou said.