Xiaomi reportedly tweaks organizational structure to pave way for making cars

February 20, 2021 ideaTechX

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has made a round of structural changes to its technology system ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, possibly to pave the way for its entry into the car-making industry, according to 36kr.com.

Xiaomi’s artificial intelligence division was merged into the Technology Committee, with Ye Hangjun, general manager of the AI division and vice chairman of the AIoT Strategy Committee, becoming chairman of the Technology Committee, while Cui Baoqiu, former chairman of the Technology Committee, changed his position to president of Xiaomi Qinghe University, the report said, citing multiple sources close to Xiaomi executives.

Xiaomi has seen a lot of organizational restructuring each year, but rarely involving VP-level executives. Cui is a core management member of Xiaomi, having built Xiaomi’s AI R&D team, including the AI and cloud platform divisions, in 2016, the report noted.

Cui was promoted to the position of Xiaomi Group Vice President and became the Chairman of the Technology Committee in 2019.

Combined with the recent Xiaomi car-making rumors, voices within Xiaomi interpreted the handover of Ye and Cui as paving the way for Xiaomi to build cars, the report said.

The report cited sources close to Xiaomi’s top management as revealing that after this structural adjustment, Ye said in an internal meeting that thereafter he would not only be responsible for AI technology but also focus on hardware and be responsible for more new hardware and other technologies.

And the combination of AI and hardware is the narrative of the new car-making being pursued by capital at the moment. “If the intelligent technology output of the car needs a person in charge, Ye is the CTO level candidate whose ability is more in line.” Ye has worked for Google and Tencent and has a background in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, the person told 36kr.

Chinese media outlet LatePost said Friday, citing multiple sources, that Xiaomi has decided to build a car and sees it as a strategic decision.

Xiaomi will start building its own cars, LatePost reports

The exact form and path of Xiaomi’s car manufacturing is still undetermined and may still be subject to change, the report said.

The report cites a person familiar with the matter as saying that Xiaomi’s project to build a car will likely be handled by Xiaomi Group founder Lei Jun himself.

Lei, who visited Tesla CEO Elon Musk twice in 2013 in the U.S., wrote on his WeChat account that he was curious about Tesla, whose market value had risen sevenfold to more than $20 billion a year at the time, and the smart electric car industry in which it operates.

Now Xiaomi is among the top three in the world in the smartphone industry, but at the same time, global cell phone sales growth has stagnated. The most popular industry in the current market is smart electric cars, so it’s no surprise that Xiaomi has chosen to enter the car-making industry at this time, the report said.

Xiaomi ships 43.3 million phones in Q4, ranking third in the world

(Xiaomi’s Ninebot GoKart Pro)