The China-based multinational automotive giant has announced their plans to partner with IBM and Microsoft. The aim is to develop blockchain solutions for the upcoming Wanxiang smart cities initiative.

Wanxiang Group Corporation, which has shown increasing interests over the past two years in innovative technologies like the blockchain, will invest US$30 billion in purchasing 83 million square feet of land as a foundation for its smart city project. The principal goal of the project is the promotion of emerging technologies and innovations.

Blockchain is one of the core technologies the company hopes to integrate and showcase. It is being increasingly adopted by the world’s leading financial institutions and tech corporations to store data more securely and with greater transparency.

Wanxiang, which already purchased US$500,000 worth of ether in mid-2015, may potentially utilise the Ethereum network in creating a smart contract-based platform to register the property rights of its electric cars in the smart city.

Today, at the Global Blockchain Summit in Shanghai hosted by Wanxiang, the company hinted at a potential partnership with Microsoft, which currently offers blockchain-as-a-service for enterprise-grade clients and corporations to assist the integration of Ethereum.

Microsoft Azure, in particular, combines the cloud infrastructure of Microsoft and the smart contract-based ecosystem of Ethereum to enable large-size corporations to build private or semi-private Ethereum blockchain-based platforms.

IBM, which may support the development of Wanxiang smart cities, also released its own blockchain-as-a-service product earlier this week, to maximise the technology’s reach to assist companies in trade finance, securities, retail banking and public records.

The business transaction-based blockchain network by IBM will enable Wanxiang to deploy its own private blockchain that will scale along with the number of smart electric cars that will have their property rights embedded into the blockchain.

At the Wanxiang’s event, the company’s vice chairman and executive director Feng Xiao introduced an innovative method of using the blockchain in tracking batteries in cars and monitor their usage, as reported by CoinDesk. Feng hinted at a business model in which car batteries will be lent out to car makers after being recorded on its private blockchain network. The public record will enable Wanxiang to monitor every aspect of the batteries’ usage, including their condition and properties.

Joseph Young