What happened

Shares of Aurora Mobile (NASDAQ:JG), a Chinese provider of "big data" solutions to mobile app developers, surged after the company announced a deal with a global maker of new energy vehicles that it didn't name. While it didn't name its new partner, it did describe it, and the description seems to match a certain California-based electric-vehicle maker whose stock has had a very good year. 

As of 10 a.m. EST, Aurora's shares were up about 63.3% from Monday's closing price. 

So what

I'll say this up front: It's all a bit mysterious, which should always make investors wary. 

Aurora said in its press release that it has signed a deal with a maker of "new energy vehicles" -- a term used in China to mean electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids -- and that it will help that automaker improve its operational and service systems. 

Aurora didn't name the automaker in question, but it did say this: "The automaker is primarily engaged in the design, development, manufacture and sales of green energy vehicles, including high-performance sedans, SUVs and semi-trucks with global deliveries exceeding 100,000 in the third quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, it is committed to intelligent driving technologies and has developed an autopilot driver-assistance system which is widely recognized by drivers."

It also said that the automaker has a mobile app that allows an owner to monitor and control some of their car's functions from a distance.

It sure sounds like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), doesn't it? 

An ascending stock arrow against a green background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

It certainly seems clear that Aurora wants us to think it's Tesla and that it agreed not to name the company. It's my job to know this space, and I can tell you that there aren't any other "global" makers of "green energy vehicles" that have that particular product mix ("high-performance sedans, SUVs and semi-trucks") and that delivered over 100,000 vehicles last quarter. (While Tesla isn't yet manufacturing the Semi, it is under development.) 

What will this deal mean for Aurora in terms of sales and revenue and opportunities to do business with other makers of electric vehicles? While Aurora isn't exactly new to the auto space -- it announced a separate deal with not-yet-public Chinese electric-vehicle maker WM Motor last week -- it's far from clear what this deal encompasses, or even means.

Long story short: I think auto investors who are excited about the possible Tesla connection would be wise to proceed with caution until we learn more about this deal. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.