Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Gets On The Road To Electric Cars

Xiaomi headquarters

One of the world’s biggest smartphone makers is apparently getting into the electric vehicle business, Reuters reported Thursday (March 25).

Citing several unnamed sources close to the project, Reuters says China’s Xiaomi Corp plans to manufacture its electric vehicles at the Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd. factory, “making it the latest tech firm to join the smart mobility race.”

Xiaomi declined comment, while Great Wall said it had not discussed a partnership with the smartphone maker. According to the sources Reuters spoke to, Xiaomi will sell the vehicles to a mass market, in keeping with its plan for electronic products. One of the people with knowledge of the matter said Great Wall will provide engineering consulting to streamline the project.

The sources tell Reuters Xiaomi would launch its first electric vehicle around 2023, with the cars able to connect with other Xiaomi devices. In addition to its smartphones, Xiaomi makes dozens of internet-connected devices, such as air purifiers, rice cookers and scooters.

Last year, Xiaomi was — along with Apple — one of only two smartphone makers in the top five to experience growth.

“The plan comes as Xiaomi seeks to diversify its revenue streams from the smartphone business which accounts for the bulk of its income but carries razor-thin profit margins,” write Reuters’ Julie Zhu and Yilei Sun. “It flagged on Wednesday rising costs from a global chip shortage and reported quarterly revenue below market estimates.”

It’s also happening against the backdrop of carmakers and tech companies collaborating to develop smart vehicles.

Earlier this year, the Chinese search engine provider Baidu said it would work with car company Geely to make an electric vehicle. Apple has also announced plans for an Apple Car, which one analyst has said could push its stock into the $3 trillion range.

And earlier this week, Volvo revealed its plan to work with the smart car tech startup ECARX to design in-car operation software.