36Kr has learned from several sources on Monday that Smartmi Technology, an eco-chain company controlled by Xiaomi, has joined the car building project. Additionally, Ma Yongdong, the former head of electric vehicle project of PATAC, leads Smartmi’s vehicle business. Furthermore, many electrical architecture personnel of BAIC Group have recently joined Smartmi. At the time of publishing, Smartmi Technology has not yet responded to this news.
More indicative of Smartmi Technology’s intention to build a car is that some automobile design companies are already in contact with Smartmi to connect with the design of the vehicle. “The direction of Smartmi’s car manufacturing is also the passenger car, and the first car is an SUV.” According to sources, Smartmi Technology’s car-making business currently remains independent from Xiaomi Auto, and has not seen any obvious support from Xiaomi‘s administrative system.
Smartmi Technology is a Xiaomi eco-chain company specializing in air conditioners and air purifiers. Unlike other Xiaomi eco-chain companies, it is a holding subsidiary of Xiaomi, while other eco-chain companies such as Roborock and Dreame Technology have only a small amount of equity investment of Xiaomi.
Furthermore, it can be seen from public business information that Liu De, cofounder of Xiaomi, holds over 90% equity of Beijing Smartmi and has actual control. Liu De is the initiator of Xiaomi Eco-Chain, and often represents the firm in holding shares in eco-chain companies.
At the end of March this year, Xiaomi announced that it planned to invest $10 billion in 10 years, with the first batch of 10 billion yuan ($157.16 million). In September, Xiaomi Auto Company was formally established, with its headquarters in Beijing and its factory in Yizhuang. The Xiaomi Auto team has expanded rapidly, with over 500 people at present, and its R&D centers are located in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan. Xiaomi previously announced that the first car of Xiaomi Auto will be launched in the first half of 2024.