Lei Jun said that Xiaomi's car-making business is progressing far beyond his expectations.
Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Group Chairman Lei Jun said at its investor day event today that the company's car-making business is progressing far beyond his expectations, with its first car expected to be mass-produced in the first half of 2024.
He said that electric cars have now transformed from a mechanical industry to an information industry and Xiaomi will be eliminated if it does not participate.
Xiaomi's business includes smartphones, smart home and smart office, all of which are smart ecology and have extreme expansion potential if well integrated with electric cars, he said.
Lei said that Xiaomi's auto business has been registered in Beijing on September 1, the first factory will be settled in Beijing Yizhuang. The unit has received 20,000 resumes, to 453 people already in the R&D team.
On March 30, Xiaomi announced on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the company plans to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to take charge of the smart electric car business.
Xiaomi's initial investment in the automotive business will be RMB 10 billion ($1.54 billion), with an expected investment of $10 billion over the next 10 years, and Lei will serve as CEO of the smart electric vehicle business.
Xiaomi will use its existing RMB 108 billion cash reserves, 10,000-strong R&D team, the world's top three cell phone businesses and the world's best smart ecosystem to build Xiaomi cars, Lei said.
Xiaomi has big ambitions for its carmaking business, with plans to launch its first model in the first half of 2024 and a new car in each of the following three years, a 36kr.com report early last month said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Xiaomi is aiming for total sales of 900,000 units in those three years, the report said.
In recent months, Xiaomi has negotiated a partnership with a parts giant and disclosed initial plans for its car business, according to the report.
Today's new energy industry landscape is no longer friendly to new entrants, with leading companies including NIO, Li Auto and XPeng Motors already establishing brand recognition and receiving significant capital support. And traditional car companies are transforming themselves by launching independent sub-brands to compete.
Citing industry sources with access to Lei, the report says Lei realized that competition would be fierce when Xiaomi's car was introduced, so he decided to enter the market with a "10 percent BOM (bill of materials) loss.