Chinese Cybersecurity Giant 360 to Cooperate with NETA Auto to Make Electric Cars

Chinese Internet security giant 360 announced on Tuesday a new partnership with NETA Auto, suggesting they will follow the philosophy of “making cars for the people”.

Founded in 2005, 360 is the largest provider of Internet and mobile security products in China, having launched such items as 360 Total Security, 360 Mobile Security, 360 Security browsers and others. In the automobile field, the company has rolled out hardware-related products like data recorder and streaming media rearview mirror.

At the communication meeting on Tuesday, Zhou Hongyi, Chairman of 360, promised that the company would be a strategic investor of NETA Auto in a long-term and comprehensive way.

NETA Auto, owned by HOZON Auto, launched three models of new-energy cars including NETA N01, NETA V and NETA U, with its sales volume reaching 15,091 units in 2020.

The EV brand said on April 26 it had initiated its Series D financing led by 360 Group, which was intended to raise roughly 3 billion yuan ($466 million). 360 Group is expected to become its second-largest shareholder upon completion of the funding.

At the Shanghai Auto Show held in April, NETA Auto launched another four models – NETA UPro, NETA S and Girls’ Edition of NETA V, with a price tag of between 99,800 yuan to 159,800 yuan ($15,511 to $24,836). From January to April this year, the firm has sold 11,458 vehicles, ranking fourth among electric vehicles makers, behind Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng.

NETA Auto and 360 will jointly set up an organization with a view on getting involved in the upgrading and safety insurance businesses for automobiles.

The vast number of users connected with 360 will participate in the design and review of NETA’s products, a plus for expanding its market share.

“New energy vehicle is a complete revolution in the traditional automobile industry. The essence of this revolution is equal rights in science and technology, meaning that everyone can enjoy intelligent driving systems with great driving performance, enough space, and human-vehicle interaction. Adhering to the philosophy of making cars for the people, our company aims at low-budget vehicles of about 100,000 yuan ($14,880) to meet the needs of the majority of users,” Zhou said.

Since the beginning of this year, Internet giants have been enthusiastic about entering the smart car sector.

In January, Baidu established a smart car company Jidu, with Geely Holding Group as its strategic partner. In March, Xiaomi announced it would set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to operate the smart electric vehicle business. In April, Huawei entered into partnerships with three automakers to establish sub-brands for intelligent cars.

“360 would not miss this precious opportunity for change,” Zhou said.