Xiaomi said that this division now has 300 employees, and it's currently in a "substantial development phase."
Who is Xiaomi?
Founded in 2010, Xiaomi is a Chinese consumer electronics giant that considers itself a software organization. Billionaire and entrepreneur Lei Jun founded the company based in Beijing, China.
MIUI, a ROM software for Android phones, was one of Xiaomi's early ventures. At the time, Android phones were not consumer-friendly. Xiaomi slowly built up its reputation and gained fans on multiple smartphone platforms.
The company releases regular smartphone updates and focuses on a community-based approach. Throughout their progression as a company, software was always at the center of their plans. MIUI is still running on most Xiaomi phones.
The company relies on third parties to make most of its Xiaomi-branded smartphones, and it will use the same model to build EVs.
Xiaomi is expected to meet Apple in the EV market
In August, Xiaomi announced that it had acquired autonomous driving firm Deepmotion, as reported by CNBC. The acquisition cost around $77.37 million, and Xiaomi hopes this will "enhance the technological competitiveness" of its EV business.
Over the next decade, Xiaomi Corp. plans to invest $10 billion towards manufacturing EVs. This will mark the company’s largest overhaul and begin its venture into China's booming EV market. Lei Jun will lead the new standalone EV division.
Bloomberg, Xiaomi will invest an initial $1.5 billion in smart vehicle manufacturing. The company intends to ramp this up rapidly in subsequent years.
Like Xiaomi, Apple has plans to enter the EV market in the future. Apple began working on "Project Titan" in 2014 with more than 1,000 car experts and engineers. The project focused on the development of an EV at a secret location near Apple's Cupertino headquarters.
Unfortunately, leadership issues and internal struggles, among other problems, led to rumors in 2016 that Apple had shelved its EV plans. However, the company appears to have overcome these conflicts. Now, Apple is focusing on developing a consumer-facing autonomous vehicle.
Why are smartphone manufacturers building EVs?
Undoubtedly, Xiaomi's entry into the Chinese EV market opens a new opportunity for growth beyond smartphones and other consumer electronics. Xiaomi has great electronic development experience and funding to venture into EVs. It will be interesting to see how the company will stack up in the competitive market.
A huge swath of automakers and startups are competing for the biggest share of the EV market. EV sales in China are expected to climb in upcoming years, and smartphone companies want a piece of the pie.
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