Move over Apple and Google, Xiaomi wants to launch electric car

Fast-growing Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi last month said it planned to invest $10 billion over the next decade in an automotive venture, leading many to wonder whether the company planned to launch its own car or simply develop car-related technology.

During a presentation made on Wednesday via social media, Xiaomi CEO and founder Lei Jun said the company wants to launch its own electric vehicles and that the first model would be a sedan or crossover priced somewhere between 100,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan (approximately $15,300 and $45,900).

Lei said the targets were based on the results of an Internet poll and that the plans were yet to be finalized, South China Morning Post reported.

There are of course major headwinds. Established automakers are on the verge of rolling out dozens of EVs, and that’s on top of all the EVs already on offer plus those from the new crop of EV startups. Xiaomi also received an investment ban in the United States in January by the Trump administration due to alleged connections to the Chinese military, though U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras last month put a temporary halt on the ban and hinted that it will likely be reversed.

But Xiaomi also has a lot going for it. The company is currently the third biggest manufacturer of smartphones behind Samsung and Apple, with its revenues last year coming in at almost $38 billion. The company also offers other smart devices including televisions and even an electric scooter.

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Here in the U.S., rival smartphone manufacturers Apple and Google have different strategies when it comes to EVs. While Apple is likely to launch its own self-driving EV, Google has indicated that it wants to focus on self-driving technology via its Waymo division.

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