NIO Founder William Li Confirms Plans for Smartphone Business

William Li, the founder, Chairman and CEO of Chinese new energy car company NIO, responded to reports the company is working on smartphones during a Thursday interview. Li said the company is still researching and studying the industry, as reported by Sohu Tech. He also bluntly stated that there has been feedback from NIO users concerning the possibility of a phone with better connectivity to the cars, motivating NIO to study the industry.

“We will actively study this trend. We are well aware of the fact that it is easy to make a phone, yet it is challenging to make a nice phone,” said Li. The executive added that even if NIO were to make phones, it is not a question of commercial success, but whether users actually need NIO phones and whether they would bring about a better user experience to its customers.

In February, it was reported that NIO would begin to develop operations in the smartphone industry and was in the initial research stages. NIO told Chinese media that no information was available for public disclosure, and that any necessary updates would be provided in due course.

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36Kr then reported that long before Xiaomi announced plans for making cars, NIO had planned to make smartphones. Yin Shuijun, the former president of Meitu Smartphone, joined NIO to head up its smartphone business. The source also said: “NIO has had the project set up for a while now, established a team in Shenzhen, and is currently recuiting new staff.”

Market analysts suggest NIO‘s smartphones will be highly connected with its automobiles, such as through smartphone-car file mutual transmission, ARVR resource projection, and a smartphone version of the “NOMI” voice assistant.