Smartmi, a Chinese home appliance manufacturer backed by smartphone maker Xiaomi, has formed a small group researching electric vehicles (EVs) and is in the early phase, according to Xiaomi’s spokesman Wang Hua’s Tuesday Weibo post. Wang was responding to Chinese media reports of Smartmi considering making EVs, to which Wang said Xiaomi wasn’t aware. Wang added that Xiaomi is not involved in Smartmi’s decision-making process. [Wang Hua’s Weibo, in Chinese]
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has set up a new private equity fund of RMB 1.1 billion ($172.7 million), according to public registration information disclosed by the Asset Management Association of China. Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s co-founder and CEO, manages the fund. The fund was established in May and registered on Monday. [Jiemian, in Chinese]
Xiaomi announced a hiring spree for self-driving engineers on Wednesday, as the Chinese smartphone maker accelerates plans for self-branded electric and autonomous vehicles. Xiaomi is seeking 500 experts in autonomous vehicles nationwide, according to a post published by chief executive Lei Jun on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo. [Xiaomi announcement, in Chinese]
Lei Jun, chairman of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, announced on Wednesday that the company has registered a car company called Xiaomi Qiche, or Xiaomi Automobile (our translation). The company has RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion) in registered capital, with Lei being the CEO. [Lei Jun on Weibo, in Chinese]
Autonomous driving technologies are the most crucial part of intelligent and electric vehicles, president Wang said.
Self-driving startup Geometrical Pal raised RMB 400 million ($62 million) in pre-Series A funding from backers including Matrix Partners China and Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Investment Fund, an investment firm formed by the namesake smartphone maker, Chinese media reported Monday. This comes just two months after Xiaomi led a $190 million Series D for driver assistance system developer Zongmu, as the consumer electronics giant moves forward with driverless car technology. [36Kr, in Chinese]
Xiaomi is the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by market share; its entry into the growing EV market may bring new competition to Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto.
Black Sesame Technologies, a Chinese autonomous driving chip startup, has raised an undisclosed amount in two funding rounds led by an investment firm from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Investment Fund led the investment, in which Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, and automaker FAW participated. The company said it is valued at $2 billion. [Black Sesame statement, in Chinese]
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi plans to open 20,000 more offline shops throughout China in the next three years, expanding its presence in lower-tier cities and towns, according to Lu Weibin, Xiaomi’s partner and vice president. Lu said new Xiaomi stores will be bigger and may sell Xiaomi’s electric vehicles (EVs) in the future. The company announced an EV subsidiary in March. [China Securities Journal, in Chinese]
Xiaomi is discussing a potential partnership with state-owned automaker FAW Group, according to a Sept. 11 statement from the Jilin provincial government. The Chinese smartphone giant recently launched an electric vehicle subsidiary. Xiaomi had reportedly talked about a partnership with at least two other automakers, including Great Wall Motor and JAC. But both those automakers denied the reports. [Jilin provincial government statement, in Chinese]