August 24, 2018 / 4:38 AM / a month ago

Waymo sets up subsidiary in Shanghai as Google plans China push

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) self-driving unit Waymo has set up a subsidiary in Shanghai, according to a business registration filing, the latest sign that the U.S. internet giant is attempting to make new inroads into China.

FILE PHOTO: Waymo unveils a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Waymo established a wholly-owned company called Huimo Business Consulting (Shanghai) Co on May 22 in Shanghai’s free trade zone with registered capital of 3.5 million yuan ($509,165), according to China’s National Enterprise Information Publicity System.

Its scope includes business and logistics consultancy as well as services related to the design and testing of self-driving car parts, said the document, which also listed the firm’s legal representative as Kevin Bradley Vosen.

Waymo on Friday confirmed that it had set up a legal entity in China several months ago and has people working there.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, which quit China’s search engine market in 2010, has been actively seeking ways to re-enter the sector in the country where many of its products are blocked by regulators.

In August, Reuters reported that the company plans to launch a version of its search engine in China that will block some websites and search terms. Google’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has told staff that development is in an early stage.

Google has also joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou and launched an artificial intelligence game on Tencent Holdings Ltd’s (0700.HK) social media app WeChat.

Waymo’s move also comes as China makes a major push into autonomous smart vehicles to keep pace with the United States in a global race to develop self-driving vehicles.

Earlier this year, Beijing issued licenses to automakers allowing self-driving vehicles to be road-tested in Shanghai, including Shanghai-based SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (600104.SS) and electric vehicle start-up NIO.

($1 = 6.8740 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Yilei Sun in BEIJING and Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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