's hardware chief Bai Jian has confirmed that he's taking over the phone business, and hinted that the Nio Phone may use the company's own image signal chips.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

Nio's (NYSE: NIO) hardware chief Bai Jian has confirmed that he will be taking over Nio's smartphone business, following a report earlier today that the head of the business, Yin Shuijun, is leaving.

"When Shuijun started at Nio, [Nio's] phone business was within the scope of smart hardware. I was watching him build the team up step by step while fighting battles," Bai wrote on Weibo today.

Bai, who is Nio's vice president for hardware, didn't directly mention that Yin is leaving, but his statement clearly confirms it.

Earlier today, local media outlet 36kr reported that Nio's smartphone business head Yin is leaving, marking the latest move by the electric vehicle (EV) maker to shrink its non-core business.

An internal Nio email on the evening of January 5 indicated that Yin would be leaving and the phone business would be headed by Bai, according to the report.

Bai, graduated from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications with a PhD degree in cryptography and communications engineering, joined Nio in November 2020.

He joined in September 2018 as the general manager of the chip and forward-looking research business unit, which was his job before joining Nio. Prior to Xiaomi, Bai was the director of hardware at Oppo.

Bai said today that Nio's first-generation phone has been mass-produced and has become his primary phone.

"The fact that I have come to take over the phone business shows Nio's strong determination to do a good job of interconnecting vehicles with phones and make good phones," he said.

Bai also revealed Nio's plans for the phone business, hinting that the device is also expected to use chips developed by Nio itself.

Phones and cars will be more closely integrated and the performance and iteration of vehicle cockpits and infotainment systems will become more and more like phones, he said.

"The imaging basics of the Nio Phone are now very well established and Nio has the capability to develop its own ISP (image signal processor). These are all in my area of responsibility and I am confident and looking forward to what the 'chemistry' will be in the future," Bai said.

Nio's chip team, which was formed in the second half of 2020, is part of Nio's smart driving hardware division, which is headed by Bai.

The company announced its first in-house developed chip, Yang Jian, a LiDAR main control chip, at the Nio IN 2023 Innovation Day event on September 21.

At Nio Day 2023 on December 23, Nio unveiled its first in-house developed autonomous driving chip, the Shenji NX9031, which will be used in the ET9 executive flagship sedan.

Nio unveils in-house developed autonomous driving chip