There were no previous rumors that would make smartwatches, and it seems more likely that the Nio Watch trademark was registered for protection purposes.

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Nio (NYSE: NIO) has filed an application to register the Nio Watch trademark in China, an interesting development for the company beyond making cell phones.

Nio's application for the trademark is dated December 16, 2022 and is classified as a scientific instrument, with a current status of pending application, according to data provider Tianyancha.

No further information is available on Nio Watch. Rumors of Nio's involvement in cell phone manufacturing began to emerge a year ago, and the company subsequently acknowledged the plan.

William Li, Nio's founder, chairman and CEO, said on a talk show in late March 2022 that the company was researching the idea of making phones.

In a small exchange with Nio owners in Fuzhou Fujian province, on July 28, Li said the company would develop a phone model each year, like Apple.

In another exchange with Nio owners in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, on July 31, Li said that those using Android phones now would not need to replace them within a year, implying that Nio-branded phones were expected to be available in a year's time.

On August 4, Nio Mobile Technology Co Ltd was officially incorporated with a registered capital of $100 million in China.

Its business scope includes sales of electronic products, mobile devices, wearable devices, artificial intelligence hardware and communication devices, as well as technology development and software development.

In an internal speech on November 15, Li said Nio's cell phone business is progressing well and that the product will be available in 2023.

Li did not mention why Nio was getting into phone-making but said it was a decision based on 5-10 years of long-term strategic thinking.

There were no previous rumors that Nio would make smartwatches, and it seems more likely that the Nio Watch trademark was being registered for protection purposes.

Major Chinese smartphone makers, including , OPPO, and Vivo all have their own smartwatch products.