On the second day of Auto Shanghai 2023, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun visited several electric vehicle makers’ booths including NIO, XPeng, Geely’s Zeekr and HiPhi. Accompanying him were other Xiaomi executives such as Liu De, co-founder and vice president.
During the auto show, Lei visited XPeng‘s booth and their new sports utility vehicle G6. He also had a chance to speak briefly with Wang Fengying, who recently became president of XPeng. At NIO‘s booth, William Li personally accompanied Lei and provided explanations about their products and services. Additionally, Lei communicated with An Conghui, CEO of Zeekr, and David Ding, founder of HiPhi at their respective booths.
Lei also visited the Volkswagen and Audi booths to experience the Volkswagen ID.7 and Audi A8L Horch, respectively. Additionally, visitors captured photos of Lei at Lamborghini and Porsche booths for social media posts.
On April 18th, Lei held a Xiaomi new product launch event in Beijing where he unveiled the Xiaomi 13 Ultra and other products. Therefore, his sudden visit to Shanghai led to speculation that he was conducting market research for the upcoming Xiaomi cars.
During the Xiaomi new product launch event, Lei announced that their high-end strategy has achieved phased results after three years of effort. Additionally, Xiaomi‘s R&D investment for this year is expected to exceed 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion). Over the past five years, Xiaomi‘s annual compound growth rate of R&D investment has reached 38.4%, with almost half of its total workforce being dedicated to R&D personnel. At the auto show, Lei was seen taking pictures with the latest Xiaomi 13 Ultra model.
In March of this year, Lei announced that Xiaomi‘s car had successfully completed winter testing and is anticipated to enter mass production in the first half of 2024. Lei has devoted almost half of his time to the automotive business, leading a research and development team consisting of over 2,300 individuals with an initial investment exceeding three times that of other automakers. However, in comparison, Zeekr has already established a research and development team comprising more than 4,500 people while NIO‘s R&D personnel exceeds 10,000.
The financial report indicates that Xiaomi‘s R&D expenses reached 16 billion yuan by the end of 2022, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 21.7%. This increase is primarily attributed to higher costs associated with innovative ventures such as smart electric vehicles. Notably, Xiaomi has filed over 400 patents related to autonomous driving, intelligent cockpit technology, charging devices and power systems.