First electric automobile unveiled by Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi

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Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi unveiled its first electric car model on Thursday, with its boss declaring ambitions of becoming a global automotive powerhouse despite fierce competition at home.

Beijing-based Xiaomi, which is the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer, is also a leading provider of tablets, smartwatches, headphones, and electric scooters.

The company announced in 2021 its intended foray into electric vehicles, joining a trend that has seen several major Chinese tech companies pivot towards the highly competitive sector.

Xiaomi boss Lei Jun took to the stage in Beijing Thursday to unveil the SU7, a sedan that is scheduled to enter the market in 2025.

The model is integrated with Xiaomi software to enable functionality across the firm’s range of devices, and it will be produced by local manufacturer BAIC.

“The goal is to become one of the world’s top five automotive manufacturers through 15 to 20 years of hard work,” Lei said.

The SU7’s batteries are to be supplied by China’s largest electric automaker, BYD, as well as domestic battery giant CATL.

Many top tech firms in China—the world’s largest automotive market—have invested recently in the country’s EV sector, where foreign firms have struggled to take hold.

BYD was the undisputed leader of China’s EV market in November, with more than 300,000 models sold, far ahead of Tesla’s more than 80,000, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has achieved rapid growth through its strategy of marketing high-end devices at affordable prices, which were initially sold directly through online channels.