China's Didi expands partnership with automaker GAC Group

BEIJING, June 26 (Reuters) - Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said on Wednesday it would expand its partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd (GAC Group) to areas such as ride-hailing operations and autonomous driving.

China’s largest ride-hailing firm and GAC Group will work on fleet expansion and management, development of new mobility products, and collaboration on smart driving, including autonomous driving technology, Didi said in a statement.

GAC Group was among 31 automakers and parts suppliers that formed an alliance with Didi last year. Didi said at the time that it wanted to offer its customer-and-operational skills to automakers wanting to develop their own ride-sharing services in return for design expertise.

Didi set up joint ventures with a unit of Chinese carmaker Beijing Automotive Group Co Ltd and Germany’s Volkswagen as part of its goal to ultimately develop purpose-built cars for its services. (Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Himani Sarkar)