From blockchain tech to making satellites, Geely seems to have a hand in every jar. But this one has links to cars, which of course is the group’s main business. Last week, Geely Technology Group’s Taizhou facility obtained the license to begin the commercial manufacturing of satellites, which will be ultimately used for realising vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications for full autonomous self-driving.

The green light was given by China’s National Development and Reform Commission. When production begins in October this year, the factory – located in Geely’s original hometown of Taizhou in Zhejiang province – will have an estimated production output of over 500 satellites per annum.

Geely says that the factory in Taizhou Bay is the first of its kind in China. Much like the carmaker’s BMA and CMA-platform production facilities, it utilises modular technology, and will incorporate both the mass assembly and testing of new satellites. Satellite R&D, core component manufacturing, measurement and control, aerospace materials, cloud computing big data platform will all be conducted onsite.

Geely is seeing this as an opportunity to establish the industrial chain – R&D, design, manufacturing, launch and market application – of its own satellite network. The launch of Geely’s first satellites is planned for the first half of 2021.

Xu Zhihao, CEO of Geely Technology Group, said that satellite manufacturing is crucial for the entire satellite industry chain and the Taizhou facility will meet the development needs of this rapidly developing industry, including shortening development cycles of micro-satellites, faster technology updates, and more functionality.

In April 2020, Geespace – a subsidiary of the Geely Technology Group – produced its first two satellites that were later transported to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China for launch into low orbit. Geely’s satellites are designed to provide end users with high precision, centimetre-accurate positioning services and support the operation of the Omnicloud artificial intelligence cloud platform, the company says.

It may already be China’s top domestic auto brand, but Geely isn’t standing still when it comes to innovation. The Hangzhou-based carmaker has of late been busy cutting tech deals – before the recent JV announcement with blockchain organisation Concordium, Geely signed agreements with the world’s largest games company and WeChat owner Tencent, China’s internet giant Baidu, and electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn.