China's Xiaomi completes business registration of electric vehicle unit
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By Josh Horwitz
Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp has completed the business registration of its electric vehicle unit, marking the latest milestone in its push into the automotive sector, the company said on Wednesday.
The new unit, to be called Xiaomi EV, opened with registered capital of 10 billion yuan (about R22 billion) and Xiaomi chief executive Lei Jun as its legal representative, Xiaomi said.
Some 300 staff had been employed to join the EV unit and it continued to recruit talent, it said.
The smartphone maker, which became the world's second top-selling brand behind Samsung in the second quarter, confirmed its foray into electric cars in March, pledging to invest $10bn (about R144bn) over the next 10 years.
At the time, Lei said the push into electric vehicles would mark his "last major entrepreneurial project".
On Wednesday, Xiaomi said it had since conducted more than 2 000 interview surveys and visited more than 10 industry peers and partners. However, it has revealed few details of its strategy for the automotive sector or vehicle types it intends to launch.
Last week, the company said it purchased autonomous driving technology start-up Deepmotion for more than $77 million, in an effort to boost research and development.
Earlier in August, Reuters reported that Xiaomi had entered talks with beleaguered real estate giant Evergrande Group to purchase a stake in the latter's automotive unit.
In response to the news, a Xiaomi spokesperson wrote on the company social media account that it is in touch with several automakers but has yet to decide which one to work with.
Xiaomi's second-quarter earnings last week beat analyst estimates, with revenues and net profits increasing 64% and 87.4% respectively.
The company's share of the global smartphone market has surged following the retreat of its chief rival, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in the face of US government sanctions.