BEIJING -- Renault is deepening a partnership with Alibaba Group to boost sales in China, a market the automaker is counting on as the biggest growth pillar in the coming years.
As part of Renault's push, Chinese consumers will be able to buy the company's cars online through Alibaba's Tmall service, Francois Provost, head of the automaker's Asia Pacific business, said in an interview in Shanghai on Wednesday.
Renault said it targets a five-fold increase in China sales in the next five years.
Renault sees China as a market of strategic importance and a top priority in the company's mid-term plan. The company has a target to sell 550,000 vehicles in China as part of a goal to increase revenue globally 40 percent by 2022.
"We need to develop partnerships with companies like Alibaba,'' Provost said. "We are sure it helps a lot.''
The company said it will develop nine new models for local production with a team of 600 engineers in China, three of them pure electric vehicles. As part of the Alibaba pact, Renault will install connectivity software developed by the e-commerce giant in its Koleos and Kadjar SUVs in China starting this year.
Automakers are forming alliances with technology giants as automated driving and electrification are revolutionizing the industry. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance signed a pact with China's leading ride-hailing operator DiDi Chuxing last month to explore car-sharing programs in the country. Before Renault, Ford Motor teamed up with Alibaba as part of an effort to revive growth momentum in China.