Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi, one of China’s biggest Internet technology companies, said on Wednesday that the company had started hiring experts in the field of autonomous driving with the first batch of 500 technicians to develop the autonomous driving ability for its L4 line of vehicles. He also expressed support for multi-location offices across the country.
Since March 20th when Xiaomi officially announced its entrance into the smart electric vehicle business, Xiaomi Automobile has organized several recruitment drives. The month of June saw several recruitment posts related to the automobile industryUp until now, Xiaomi has sought to hire professionals in fields such as data platforms and vehicle infrastructure, all of which are related to autonomous driving.
Internet companies entering into the automotive market have basically chosen autonomous driving as their best launching point. Recently, Huawei cooperated with ARCFOX to develop the ARCFOX αS, a vehicle that is equipped with Huawei’s ADS high-end, full-stack autonomous driving solution. A few years ago, in 2015, it was Baidu that established IDG in an effort to make its mark in the automobile industry. To date, the accumulated mileage of L4 automatic driving tests has exceeded 10 million kilometers.
Instead of taking the initiative in the auto-driving industry, Xiaomi has choosen to invest in auto-driving start-ups and recruit specialists in the field.
On March 30th, Xiaomi announced that the company’s board of directors had officially approved the establishment of a smart electric vehicle business and intended to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to take charge of its smart electric vehicle business. The initial investment was ¥10 billion, while the investment over the next 10 years is expected to be around $10 billion. Lei Jun will also be the CEO of smart electric vehicle business.
On June 3, Xiaomi participated in the D round of investment worth $190 million for Zongmu Technology; On June 8th, Xiaomi followed up with Hillhouse Capital and Meituan to offer a $300 million D round financing for Hesai Technology. Both companies are big suppliers in the field of autonomous driving.
According to Auto-Time, Xiaomi Automobile has decided to settle in Hefei, East China. According to Anhui high-tech investment sources and other independent sources, the local government of Anhui Province is in contact with Xiaomi Automobile and intends to introduce Xiaomi Automobile into Hefei.
This time, through several social media channels, Lei Jun himself announced the company’s decision about entering into the car-making business, which suggests that Xiaomi is making a sizable investment in the car manufacturing industry.