Xiaomi takes EV step in Lei’s ‘last major project’

Smartphone giant Xiaomi (1810) said yesterday it has completed the official business registration of its electric vehicle unit, marking the latest milestone in its push into the automotive sector.

The unit, to be called Xiaomi EV, opened with registered capital of 10 billion yuan (HK$12.02 billion) and Xiaomi chief executive Lei Jun as its legal representative, Xiaomi said in a statement.

Some 300 staff have so far been hired to join the unit and it continues to recruit talent.

The smartphone maker, which became the world’s second top-selling brand behind Samsung in the second quarter, confirmed its foray into EVs in March, pledging to invest US$10 billion (HK$78 billion) over the next 10 years.

Lei said at the time the push into EVs would mark his “last major entrepreneurial project.”

Xiaomi said it has since conducted more than 2,000 interview surveys and visited over 10 industry peers and partners. But it has revealed few details of its strategy for the automotive sector or vehicle types it intends to launch.

Last week, it said it purchased autonomous driving technology startup Deepmotion for over US$77 million, in an effort to boost research and development.

Xiaomi had entered talks with beleaguered real estate giant Evergrande Group (3333) to purchase a stake in the latter’s automotive unit.

A Xiaomi employee wrote on the company’s social media account that it is in touch with several automakers but has yet to decide which one to work with.

Xiaomi’s second-quarter earnings last week beat estimates, with revenues and net profits up 64 percent and 87.4 percent.

Xiaomi’s stock inched up 0.8 percent to HK$25.20 on Wednesday.


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