Xiaomi might be more well known to South Africans as the maker of the Redmi and Mi family of smartphones (not to mention the ubiqutious Mi Box), though the Chinese firm could be set to change perceptions with the news that the firm has now put down $10 billion USD towards developing its own electric car business.
Set to mature over a period of 10 years, the investment will see Xiaomi establish a wholly-owned subsidiary to produce electric vehicles that will compete with Chinese counterparts such as Geely, Nio, or Xpeng Motors – not to mention the likes of international rivals such as Tesla should the firm elect to take its vehicles worldwide.
A research estimate from Canalys predicts that 1.9 million electric vehicles will be sold in China in 2021 thanks to policy support from Chinese government and the presence of market subsidies to make the purchase of such vehicles more attractive to consumers.
Among industry peers, China-based rival Huawei is also said to be considering entering into the electric arena. Further abroad, Apple has been reported to be in talks with the likes of Kia and Hyundai to produce its own electric vehicles.
Xiaomi has yet to unveil specifically what its model range would contain or how it would proceed to differentiate its electric vehicle subsidiary in local or international markets.
What are your thoughts? Would you prefer to buy an electric vehicle from a pedigreed automotive brand or from a device manufacturer? Let us know in the comments below.