(OTCMKTS: XIACF, HKG: 1810),  the smartphone giant that made a high-profile announcement this year to jump on the car-making bandwagon, is making a massive hiring push for its self-driving business.

The company's founder Lei Jun said on Weibo on July 28 that Xiaomi has launched a hiring drive for the self-driving division of its automotive business, with plans to hire the first 500 engineers.

Xiaomi will develop L4 self-driving technology, and the positions are for multiple locations in China, the Weibo post said.

This is the highest-profile hiring move Xiaomi has announced since it officially announced its entry into the car-making space on March 30.

On June 15, Xiaomi posted job openings on its website, offering self-driving-related positions including data platforms, and decision planning, and each job posting was preceded by the word "urgent".

These positions are all located in Haidian District, Beijing, where Xiaomi is headquartered.

Since Xiaomi officially announced its entry into the car-making business on March 30 this year, many places, including Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, have been rumored to be in contact with Xiaomi, hoping that Xiaomi cars will settle there.

Lei has been visiting various places since the announcement, frequenting various OEMs, including , SGMW and the Great Wall Motors.

Hefei, where China is headquartered, is trying to get Xiaomi's car business to land there, tech media outlet 36kr said on Tuesday, citing sources.

"Hefei and Xiaomi are in talks to get Xiaomi (car business) to locate there, but the details are unclear," the source said, adding that Xiaomi's public relations department said it would "not respond," according to the report.

The report cited a source at JAC, NIO's OEM, as saying the company may OEM for Xiaomi's car business, and that Xiaomi's first model is aimed at the sub-RMB200,000 ($30,750) market and will venture into the battery swap business, the source said.

Notably, a Youpin Mall, in which Lei has a 70 percent stake, added a "new energy vehicle battery swap facility sales" business in June, according to data provider Tianyancha.

Lei was one of NIO's earliest investors, with a stake in NIO through Shunwei Capital, and Hefei had invested RMB 7 billion to give NIO a lifeline.

"Hefei's new energy vehicle industry has a good base and is attractive to Xiaomi," the report said, citing relevant investment sources.

Construction has already begun on an electric vehicle industrial park in Hefei with a planned annual capacity of 1 million units, which will be put into operation in the third quarter of 2022. "This is a favorable condition for Xiaomi's auto business," the source said.

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