36Kr reported on Friday that it had learned from several independent sources that Geely Group’s smartphone company is in contact with Meizu, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, for acquisition. As the transaction has not yet been finalized, the price of the deal has not determined.
Geely is now involved in the production of smartphones. In September 2021, shortly after Xiaomi announced its efforts in making cars, Geely established Hubei Xingji Times Technology Co., Ltd., a high-end smartphone maker. Earlier, Reuters reported that the new company received a total investment of 10 billion yuan and would release smartphones beginning in 2023.
Li Shufu reponded to Geely’s involvement in smartphone making, saying: “The mobile phone is a product with broad market validation and usage in software innovation. It enables users to share the innovation outcomes ASAP, and transfers some of the achievements of safety and reliability to the car for application, thus achieving a close integration between vehicle and mobile phone software technology.”
A related source said that Wang Yong, the legal representative, director and general manager of Xingji Times, was responsible for the negotiation with Meizu.
Wang once served as the Vice President of ZTE, in charge of the marketing department. His major achievement was releasing ZTE’s TD-SCDMA smartphone. After ZTE, Wang joined Asustek as the Deputy General Manager of China. Geely’s smartphone team has also attracted employees from Xiaomi and OPPO. For example, Wang Wenjun, head of system software, joined Xiaomi in 2010 and then worked for OPPO.
According to industry analysts, despite limited shipments, Meizu is now valuable for its complete smartphone team.
The fierce competition in the Chinese smartphone market has caught Meizu up in some trouble. Since its establishment in 2003, Meizu has been recoginized for its “small and beautiful” style by the industry due to the excellence in product design. However, even during the heady years when Meizu won investment from Alibaba in 2015, its annual shipments hovered around 5 million units. At that time, the smartphone shipments of Huawei and Xiaomi exceeded 75 million and 61 million respectively.
On January 21, Meizu responded to The Paper, saying, “There is no relevant update yet.”
Geely also issued a response to the reported acquisition of Meizu: “We do not comment on market rumors. The high-end mobile phone R&D business of Geely’s subsidiary Xingji Times is progressing in an orderly manner, and we hope to build an open and integrated ecological partnership with companies.”
There have also been many market rumors that Geely will seek OEMs for its mobile phone business, although the firm has not commented publicly on this matter.