Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Wednesday announced that it had registered a car company called Xiaomi Qiche, or Xiaomi EV Company Limited. The electric vehicle (EV) business has a starting capital of RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion), with Xiaomi’s co-founder and chairman, Lei Jun, as the CEO. 

Why it matters: Xiaomi is the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by market share; its entry into the growing EV market may bring new competition to existing upstarts like Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto. 

5 facts about Xiaomi’s new electric car company:

  • Xiaomi wholly owns Xiaomi EV. The new subsidiary is headquartered in Beijing’s southwestern economic-technological development area, known as the Yizhuang area.
  • According to Chinese enterprise information database, the EV subsidiary will focus on making and developing alternative energy vehicles, and their parts and accessories. It is also allowed to make electric motors, electric machines, electric signal equipment, lithium batteries, and vehicle software. 
  • In March, Xiaomi said it planned to invest $10 billion into the EV subsidiary over the next 10 years.
  • Since Xiaomi announced plans to make EVs in March, the company has hired about 300 of 20,000 applicants for the EV subsidiary and is seeking more staff.  
  • Lei Jun, chairman of Xiaomi and CEO of Xiaomi EV, showed a group photo of himself along with 16 core staff members when announcing the new company. They include Wang Xiang, partner and president of Xiaomi; Liu De, co-founder and vice president of Xiaomi; Zhang Feng, partner and Xiaomi group chief of staff; Xiaomi CFO Alain Lam; and Tianyuan Li, a former exterior designer of BMW’s electric vehicle iX. According to a report by Chinese media LatePost (in Chinese), the core member photo omitted some senior members of the EV team hired from other automotive companies.

Qin is the managing editor at TechNode. Previously, she was a reporter at the South China Morning Post's Inkstone. Before that, she worked in the United States for five years. She was a senior video producer...