Following a Article in the Chinese press, rumors pointing to Xiaomi as the next consumer electronics manufacturer to sign up for the electric car intensified. Apple, after years of playing the game, has finally half recognized that yes, they are looking to launch an electric car on the market in the short term. Therefore, in principle, that Xiaomi also launched the same market, it did not seem such a crazy idea.
Finally, the brand published a release in which he assures that “they have been paying attention to developments in the electric vehicle industry and continually studied relevant industry trends. The Group has not initiated any formal project on the study of the electric vehicle manufacturing business. “
Officially, Xiaomi will not produce an electric car. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it, especially their CEO and founder Lei Jun. His brand has invested in different Chinese electric car startups in the past.
In 2013, Lei Feng visited Tesla twice to discuss business diversification. In 2015, Lei Jun invested in a new electric vehicle company: Weilai, which would later be renamed NIO. Finally, in 2019, Xiaomi made an investment as a strategic partner of up to 400 million dollars in Xpeng.
Furthermore, Xiaomi has already made a small foray into the car market. And it has done so following the same business model as for the rest of its extensive catalog, applying its design and brand to an existing product, in this case, a FAW-brand Bestune T77.
That is to say, Xiaomi has been testing the way to enter the car market for some time. And an easier way for a consumer electronics brand is to do it via the electric car. ANDl Bestune T77 remarked as Redmi is above all a probe balloon, to see if Xiaomi is able to sell a car with the same success and in the same way as a mobile or a scooter.
However, seeing the difficulties that Apple has for someone to manufacture its car, and what it has cost Tesla to settle its first benefits -about 10 years-, the idea of Xiaomi launching the sale of an electric car seems surprising. And yet it is not.
It is not about knowing if Xiaomi will sell electric cars or not, but when
On the one hand, Xiaomi, which has invested in Xpeng and NIO, could eventually reach an agreement with those companies. Nor can we forget that Foxconn has presented its platform for electric cars, available from 2025, for everyone.
The Taiwanese giant also assures that by 2024 a solid-state battery will be ready for sale. In that sense, Xiaomi would have facilities that Tesla did not have (development and manufacturing of most of the project in-house) and that Apple seems to be unable to achieve today (Hyundai and Nissan have already said no to collaborate with the American giant ).
And on the other hand, Xiaomi would be interested in the electric car because it is the next logical step in its business model. The first is that the electric car and if possible autonomous, like the mobiles, washing machines, scooters and scales that it sells, are not its business in the medium term. Your business would be in the internet of things, Big Data and associated services to the product.
If we look at the case of mobile phones, the Xiaomi operating system is MIUI and has more than 171 million active users per month. Xiaomi basically sells a device via e-commerce so that we can use its services on the internet, which is where you really plan to earn much more money (advertising, purchases, data, etc). The electric car is the promise of new users and especially of new business areas and new services to sell.
In the end, Xiaomi’s interest in the electric car can be summed up in the hackneyed metaphor seen in ‘The wolf of Wall Street’ in which candidates must sell a pen. The trick is not to sell the qualities of the pen, but what it can contribute and thus respond to a need, be it natural or created.
In the case of the electric car, this could be from restaurant reservations, discounts at recharging points, streaming services on board, advertising based on the use we make of the car and those associated services, delivery of products in the car boot purchased from Xiaomi or third parties, etc.
Xiaomi says it is not interested in the electric car and that “it has not started any formal project.” But there is no doubt that they are closely monitoring developments in the sector. The question is no longer knowingi Xiaomi will enter the sector or not, but when.
In Motorpasión | We tested the BMW iX3, the average SUV that has become an electric car with 460 km of autonomy