Visitors to TechCrunch Shanghai were greeted with a sleek silver high-performance car at the entrance. This is EP9 produced by NIO, the Chinese electric carmaker with over $2 billion in investments from the likes of Tencent, Baidu, IDG and more. However, it’s not about looks: NIO’s VP of User Development Izzy Zhu sat down with TechNode Senior Writer Wang Ping to talk about the role user experience plays at the company.

Founded in 2014 and formerly branded as NextEv, NIO just celebrated its 3rd birthday last week. The company is headquartered in Shanghai, with the product design coming from Munich, Germany and its autonomous driving research and development team based in San Jose in the US.

“The automotive industry has entered a key turning point, both in terms of technology and consumer adoption,” Zhu said when asked about why several new electric vehicle companies in China have formed in that time period, for example, Youxia Motors and Singulato.

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Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.