Consumer electronics company Xiaomi Communications Co. appears to be the latest manufacturer to enter the electric mobility race. The Beijing-based company plans to create Xiaomi-branded electric vehicles. The company will use a Chinese manufacturing plant owned by Great Wall Motors.
In its current state, Xiaomi is an electronics company based on an Internet of Things (IoT) platform. The manufacturer currently manufactures smartphones, mobile apps, laptops, home appliances and even scooters. In recent years, however, the company has lost its status as the leader in smartphone sales in China. In the future, it is looking for new outlets to maintain its status as an international manufacturer.
In a report by Reuters, three people with direct knowledge of the matter have confirmed Xiaomi’s plans to manufacture electric vehicles. Xiaomi branded electric vehicles will be intended for the mass market. This is a similar approach to the positioning of its current electronic products.
Additionally, one person told Reuters that Great Wall Motors would offer advice for the engineering process to speed up the project. This is in addition to the offering of manufacturing services to Xiaomi, a first reported for Great Wall.
Xiaomi EVs, presented by Great Wall Motors
Great Wall Motors is an established Chinese automaker and the country’s largest supplier of SUVs and pickup trucks. While the automaker has over thirty years of experience in automotive manufacturing, it has recently ventured into electric vehicles.
In 2018, it unveiled the ORA R1, calling it one of the most affordable electric vehicles available. Then in 2019, Great Wall announced a partnership with BMW to produce electric Minis. Since then, there hasn’t been much additional electrification at Great Wall Motors, so a partnership with Xiaomi and its resources might make sense.
The move comes at a time when the line between tech conglomerates and automakers is thinning, especially as electric vehicles are becoming connected IoT devices and increasingly dependent on software and electronics to function properly. . Companies like Sony have already unveiled an EV concept, and an Apple vehicle has long been the subject of rumors.
So far neither Xiaomi nor Great Wall have confirmed their intention to make electric vehicles together, although a person familiar with the matter said. Reuters that the two companies could make official announcements as early as next week.
While this partnership has yet to be confirmed, it makes sense for several reasons. The first is the current status of Xiaomi in the electronics market. Right now, a large majority of the revenue comes from its smartphones. However, such a competitive space leaves more to be desired in terms of profit margins. The global semiconductor shortage is certainly also attributable to lost revenues.
Second, China has already offered huge subsidies for electric vehicles to help clean up emissions in a notoriously polluted country. As Chinese automakers adapt, an influx of customers switching to electric will provide more sales opportunities.
As an electronics company immersed in connected technologies, Xiaomi could apply its operating system expertise with Great Wall’s veteran automotive manufacturing infrastructure for a double blow.
It’s not “real” until at least one of the companies confirms it. From what we’ve read so far, we might see Xiaomi EVs in China and possibly other markets as early as 2023. We’ll see.
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