Exclusive: The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi produces electric vehicles from the plant sources of the Great Wall

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun attends an opening ceremony of the Xiaomi Mi 9 flagship phone in Beijing

By Julie Zhu and Yilei Sun.

HONG KONG / BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Xiaomi (OTC 🙂 Corp. plans to manufacture electric vehicles (EVs) at Great Wall Motor Co Ltd’s factory Smart Mobility Race.

Xiaomi, one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers, is in talks to use one of the Great Wall of China plants to manufacture electric vehicles under its own brand, said two of the people who refused to be identified as the information provided are not public.

Xiaomi will target its electric vehicles to the mass market in line with the broader positioning of its electronics products, the two people said.

The Great Wall of China, which has not previously offered manufacturing services to other companies, will offer technical advice to expedite the project, one respondent said.

Both companies plan to announce the partnership early next week, said one of the respondents.

Xiaomi and Great Wall declined to comment.

The plan calls for eight-year-old Xiaomi to try to diversify his revenue streams from the smartphone business, which makes up most of his income but has razor-thin profit margins. It reported rising costs on Wednesday due to a global chip shortage and reported quarterly sales that were below market estimates.

The move is also made against the background that automakers and technology companies are working more closely together to develop smarter vehicles with technologies such as intelligent cabs and autonomous driving.

Chinese search engine provider Baidu Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 said in January it plans to manufacture electric vehicles with a Geely auto system. Reuters also reported on Apple Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s respective auto ambitions.

Xiaomi’s founder and general manager Lei Jun believes the company’s expertise in hardware manufacturing will help accelerate the design and production of its electric vehicles, one respondent said.

In addition to smartphones, Xiaomi makes dozens of devices that are connected to the internet, including scooters, air purifiers and rice cookers.

The company plans to launch its first EV around 2023, one respondent said. It will allow its cars to connect to other devices in its product ecosystem, people said.

Baoding-based Great Wall, China’s largest manufacturer of pickups, launched its own brand for electric and smart vehicles this year. She is also building an EV factory in China with the German BMW AG.

The automaker sold 1.11 million vehicles last year, aided by the popularity of models like the P-Series pickup truck and Ora EVs. The first factory is currently being built in Thailand.

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