China's tech companies are suddenly very interested in building a better car. Tencent, the company behind the popular WeChat chat app, announced today that it will be partnering with Foxconn for a forthcoming $15,000 "smart vehicle." Tencent will be providing technology services, although it's still unclear how automated the final product will be. It's not the only mysterious car project to come out of the Chinese tech industry this week: on Sunday, Chinese search giant Baidu pledged to launch a self-driving car within the year, following in the footsteps of the autonomous Google prototype revealed in December.
Details are still thin on the two projects, but it suggests the success of Tesla has inspired Chinese companies to test out the electric market. The Foxconn project is notable for its comparatively low price of $15,000 — less than a quarter of the cost of Tesla's Model S. Tesla fell short of its projected shipping volume for 2014 and withdrew from China in the wake of the earnings announcement, leaving the market open for any would-be competitors.