China's Xiaomi to start deliveries of its first EV model, shares soar

MoneyMar 12, 2024
  • Xiaomi Corp
  • BAIC Motor Corp Ltd
  • BYD Co Ltd
BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) - China's Xiaomi (1810.HK), opens new tab said on Tuesday it will start deliveries of its first electric vehicle (EV) model SU7 this month, venturing into the world's largest auto market amid a brutal price war.
The smartphone maker, China's fifth-largest, said in a Weibo post it has 59 stores in 29 cities nationwide that will take orders. A launch event is scheduled for March 28 when the new EV's sticker tag is expected to be announced.
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Xiaomi's shares rallied 7% during morning trade.
China's EV sales climbed 18% in January-February, not too far off 21% growth seen for all of 2023. This year has seen a round of deeper price cuts led by market leader BYD (002594.SZ), opens new tab to woo consumers amid weakening domestic demand.
At the unveiling of the Speed Ultra 7 (SU7) sedan in December, Chief Executive Lei Jun said Xiaomi plans to become one of the world's top five automakers.
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The SU7, Lei touted, has "super electric motor" technology capable of delivering acceleration speeds faster than Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab and Porsche's EVs.
Analysts say the car's shared operating system with Xiaomi's popular phones and other electronic devices will appeal to the company's existing customers.
Xiaomi has been seeking to diversify beyond its core business to EVs amid stagnating demand for smartphones - a plan it first flagged in 2021.
Its cars will be produced by a unit of state-owned automaker BAIC Group (1958.HK), opens new tab, in a Beijing factory with an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.
The smartphone giant has pledged to invest $10 billion in autos over a decade and is one of the few new players in China's EV market to gain approval from authorities who have been reluctant to add to a supply glut.
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Reporting by Sarah Wu, Casey Hall and Qiaoyi Li; Editing by Tom Hogue and Edwina Gibbs

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