Chinese tech giant Xiaomi is aiming to start working on its own car. The company is planning to establish this project as soon as April and is rapidly working on advancing its automobile manufacturing plans. According to the 36KR‘s report, citing investors close to the head of Xiaomi Lei Jun and others, the company is creating an electric car that will be like Xiaopeng P7 (Chinese car). Not just that, the upcoming Xioami cars will be top models with greater emphasis on advanced information technology.
The report also claims that the company is expected to launch cars that would focus on the mid-range and high-range markets and these cars will also take advantage of the brand’s strong portfolio of technology. As per the reports, the company’s CEO had already met with Chinese automobile maker NIO to share their ideas on building a car. Lei Jun reportedly met Li Bin, founder of Weilai Automobile, back in February for advice on various sources report that Wang Chuan. Another source familiar with this matter added that the company’s co-founder and Vice President, Wang Chuan, will be in charge of Xiaomi’s car manufacturing. Furthermore, the smartphone maker has reportedly planned on contracting with local automobile makers as well. This also includes companies like BYD and others.
Xiaomi has also been in search of a manufacturing partner and conducted discussions with German-Chinese automaker Borgward and electric pickup truck maker Kaiyn Motors. Sources told 36KR that car manufacturing has always been an important “Plan B” for Xiaomi amid a period of stagnant growth across the global smartphone industry, regardless of US blacklisting. Maybe this idea occurred to Xiaomi when Lei Jun has visited Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the US with the idea of auto manufacturing. For those unaware, Xiaomi’s venture capital arm Shunwei Capital invested in EV start-up NIO back in 2015 and also has invested in XPeng in 2016 and 2019.
It is worth noting that, Xioami has released an official statement previously in which it denied rumors that had appeared on the internet earlier about the development of its car. The statement reads, “Xiaomi Group has always been interested in the development of electric vehicle ecosystem, constantly evaluating the industry and conducting research on trends in related areas. The research work of the Xiaomi group in the field of electric vehicles has not year reached the official stage of the project.”
But, according to the documents that are published on the National Patent Office website, Xiaomi has filed a list of patent applications including cruise control, navigation, assisted driving, and other car-oriented technologies since 2015. Xiaomi’s Xiao AI virtual assistant has been implemented via a range of strategic cooperation, including in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and FAW Group’s special-edition model of Bestune T77 crossover. Not just that, back in June last year, Xiaomi registered a Chinese trademark that roughly translates as “Xiaomi Car Alliance” and related graphic trademarks.
But, this is an unconfirmed report from a source that may have no history. So, take it with a grain of salt for now. To conclude all this, Xiaomi making a car is no shocker considering the company has overtaken Apple to become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world in Q3 2020. Xiaomi shipped more than 46.2 million devices amounting to the market share of 13%, according to data provider counterpoint research.
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