As technology takes over the roads, companies that came of age in the era of internal combustion are forming new partnerships to stay competitive.

The news:  Bloomberg reports that Shufu Li, the founder of Chinese automaker Geely, purchased a $9 billion stake in Daimler, to become the German car firm's largest investor. It’s the biggest investment by a Chinese company in a foreign carmaker.

Why it matters: China is the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles, and is forging ahead to speed up electric car adoption. Li hopes that the deal will give Geely—China’s largest private carmaker by sales—access to new technological expertise, especially in electrification.

Plus: Daimler is also making big bets on the potential of the Chinese market. The company announced today that it would expand local production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, its flagship brand. The Geely deal could put Daimler in a better position to compete in China.