The Hangzhou-based technology company confirmed on Friday that it had invested in Chinese electric car start-up Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology, although it did not disclose the amount of that investment.
"As a clean energy vehicle start-up, the investment in Xiaopeng Motors fits with Alibaba's strategic focus in the automotive sector. Under our open-platform approach, we will continue to work with a range of automotive manufacturing partners to benefit Chinese consumers," an Alibaba spokeswoman said in an email.
Local newspaper China Daily reported that Alibaba would have an approximately 10 percent stake in Xiaopeng Motors following its investment.
The company's recent moves in the automobile space come after other major players comprising China's BAT companies — an acronym used to refer to Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent collectively — have made investments of their own in the electric vehicle space.
Tencent acquired a 5 percent stake in Tesla for $1.78 billion earlier this year. Both Tencent and Baidu have also invested in Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio, while Baidu has backed WM Motor Technology, another electric vehicle start-up on the mainland, Reuters reported.
Xiaopeng Motors cooperated with Haima Automobile, a subsidiary of Chinese automaker FAW Group, to begin producing its first model this year, although a finalized version of the electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) is expected to hit the market only in 2018, state-run news agency Xinhua said.
The beta version of Xiaopeng's electric SUV has a mileage of 300 km and includes an autonomous parking feature, which enables the car to park itself without a driver.
Meanwhile, He Xiaopeng, the chairman of Xiaopeng Motors and an angel investor, said in a Weibo post on Friday that the start-up had completed its series A+ round of funding and was on track to begin series B financing early next year.