Former Huawei Autonomous Driving Head Joins Geely’s Zeekr

Finance Magazine reported on Wednesday that the former director of Huawei’s autonomous driving development business has joined Geely Holding Group’s Zeekr brand as Vice President of autonomous driving and directly reports to An Conghui, CEO of Zeekr. Later, the automobile brand confirmed the news.

Chen Qi graduated from Xi’an Jiaotong University with a master’s degree in 2003. After working at ZTE for a short time, he joined Huawei and was in charge of wireless products and smart cars. In May 2019, he began to serve as the head of Huawei’s autonomous driving R&D department. Chen left Huawei earlier this year, Finance Magazine’s report noted.

Many Huawei employees confirmed to Finance Magazine that at present, the firm’s smart car business is still in an intensive personnel adjustment period. On the one hand, the smart car department is expanding at a rapid speed, and the autonomous driving team alone has about 1,000 members. On the other hand, many senior talents have left.

Zeekr is a pure electric vehicle company under Geely. In August this year, Zeekr announced the completion of its Pre-A round of financing worth $500 million, with a company valuation of about $9 billion. The investors include Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL), Cathay Fortune Corporation, which invests in mining companies, private equity firm Boyu Capital, Intel Capital and online entertainment firm Bilibili.

Geely claims that Zeekr is completely independent from R&D to sales system. An Conghui, CEO of Zeekr, once said in an interview that Zeekr’s structure is mainly composed of three sections, namely, product, users and capital, with the goal of becoming a flat organization.

On the sales side, Zeekr has built a direct system that is more suitable for electric vehicle brands, including Zeekr Center, Zeekr Space, a service center, a social app and so on.

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On the R&D side, the senior management of Zeekr said in an interview that the firm will use autonomous driving products of Volvo and Nvidia. Zeekr has also cooperated with Mobileye, the world’s largest provider of autonomous driving technology.

In April this year, Zeekr released its first mass production model, the Zeekr 001. On November 1, the firm announced that 199 vehicles had been delivered in the first week of sale. According to the plan, the sales volume of Zeekr will reach 650,000 units in 2025.