Xiaomi Denies Huawei’s Richard Yu Joining the Vehicle-Making Team

Xiaomi has refuted the recent rumor that Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Intelligent Automotive Solution BU, would be joining their automotive division, according to Yicai‘s report.

According to the Huawei official website, born in 1969, Yu holds a master’s degree from Tsinghua University. He joined Huawei in 1993 and has served as 3G Product Director, Vice President of the Wireless Technical Sales Dept, President of the Wireless Network Product Line, President of the European Area, and Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer. Currently, Yu serves as CEO of the Consumer BG, CEO of the Intelligent Automotive Solution BU, and Director of the Investment Review Board for Smart Devices and Intelligent Automotive Components.

Xiaomi initiated its car manufacturing project in March 2021. The factory will be constructed in two phases, each with an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles. The first phase is scheduled to conclude by June of this year and commence production officially during the first half of 2024.

Xiaomi‘s car division has two parts in terms of management structure: executives from Xiaomi and other automakers. The “17 members of Xiaomi‘s car-making team” image shows that the majority are long-time employees from Xiaomi, such as CEO Lei Jun, CFO Lin Shiwei, partner Zhang Feng, and co-founder Liu De. External executives include Li Tianyuan, who was a former exterior designer for BMW’s i brand; Yu Liguo, who was the former president of Arcfox; and Hu Zhengnan, who is currently known as a partner at Shunwei Capital but previously served as dean of Geely Research Institute.

During Xiaomi Investor Day in February, Lei Jun announced that the company had invested 3 billion yuan ($436 million) solely in new ventures such as automobiles in 2022. The automobile R&D team comprises over 2,300 individuals with a goal to rank among the top five automotive companies globally within 15-20 years. Additionally, Lei disclosed that he has dedicated half of his time to car manufacturing.

According to Yicai, a source close to Yu has stated that the news of him joining Xiaomi is impossible. The source explained that although there may be an opportunity in the future when things are going smoothly, leaving Huawei now would damage both personal income and reputation as the consumer business of Huawei is currently facing difficulties.

SEE ALSO: “Huawei Does Not Make Cars” Founder Ren Zhengfei Reiterates

Huawei’s financial report shows that they have invested approximately 20.6 billion yuan and employed up to 7,000 R&D personnel since establishing the Intelligent Automotive Solutions BU. However, Huawei has clarified its stance on the automotive industry. On March 31, during a financial report meeting, Eric Xu – rotating chairman of Huawei – stated, “Recently some departments, individuals and partners have been abusing the Huawei brand. We are investigating this matter thoroughly. The brand that Huawei has built over more than 30 years will not be abused casually. Huawei does not make cars nor has any branded cars. In our latest document, we clearly prohibit the use of the Huawei brand in front of an automotive brand.”