At the end of last month, Lei Jun stated that he would bet on the reputation of all his life and carry out his last entrepreneurial project-building a car.
Lei Jun personally led the team to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary responsible for the smart electric vehicle business. It does not accept any external funds. The first phase investment is 10 billion yuan, and the investment in the next ten years is 10 billion U.S. dollars…
All these have made the passionate Xiaomi car has been noticed by everyone before it was launched.
So, how will Xiaomi build a car?
Just now, Lei Jun revealed more "inside information" about Xiaomi in the live broadcast room.
This is Lei Jun’s third live broadcast on Douyin. At the beginning of the live broadcast, Lei Jun is still introducing the eco-bag sold for 1 yuan. The audience has already shouted in the comment area:
Mr. Lei, get on the link!
An hour later, the auto circle appeared from the media person Han Lu and asked about the things that everyone cares about about Xiaomi making cars.
Regarding the reason for not making cars at the beginning, and now deciding to make Xiaomi cars, Lei Jun said that it was because he wanted to gather the mobile phone industry in the past. In recent years, the mobile phone business has become better and better. At the appeal of fans, after 75 days of research, the decision was made. Decided to "kill" to the field of car manufacturing.
Han Lu questioned the consideration of 75 days, after all, building a car is not a trivial matter.
Lei Jun said that in the past few years, there has been a lot of accumulation in automobiles, and many departments have been linked to automobiles, and have established hundreds of patents, but it is indeed just a project to build a complete vehicle.
If the project is just approved, it will take at least 3 years for a car to be delivered to the user.
As the first batch of investors in Weilai and Xiaopeng, Lei Jun was naturally asked what new highlights Xiaomi will have in batteries and systems in three years' time compared to them.
Lei Jun did not give specific details, but firmly stated:
For me, the first battle is a decisive battle. When Xiaomi releases a car, it will definitely represent the cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge level at the time. I want to rest assured that Xiaomi's R&D team and R&D funds are sufficient, and there are many technologies that are connected to mobile phones and cars. The Xiaomi car after three years will definitely not disappoint everyone's expectations.
At the same time, Lei Jun also mentioned that Xiaomi will be used in cars and is planning to bring consumers a smart experience.
For example, everyone knows not to turn on the air conditioner in the car to sleep in the summer, because there will be accidents. So why don't cars now have fresh air conditioners?
For example, if we are in the north, the weather is very dry in winter, why can't the car be equipped with humidification function?
For example, air pollution in many places is very serious, why don't cars have their own air cleaners?
For example, the car is very hot in summer, why can't you just pick up a glass of ice water? As long as we don’t put cold beer, we can’t drink while driving.
Lei Jun said with a smile.
Many companies are thinking about how to put these things into cars, and Xiaomi intends to make them directly into cars. Lei Jun continued:
The key point of Xiaomi's first-generation car is not how much things are built, but how much things are reduced.
Regarding the issues that everyone is more concerned about, what kind of car and price Xiaomi will make, after all, it has not really been launched, so although Lei Jun did not give a clear answer, he also gave a range.
Lei Jun said that the first month of internal discussions about what model Xiaomi would like to do was clear, but after 75 days of discussion, it was uncertain again.
They wanted to hear the voice of users, so after voting on Weibo, they saw that 45% wanted to make cars, 40% wanted to make SUVs, and the remaining 10% wanted to make sports cars and RVs.
So Lei Jun said, "The first car was definitely not a sports car or an RV, it was either a car or an SUV."
Regarding the price, Lei Jun also said that he would listen to the voice of users, and two-thirds of them hope that Xiaomi will make a car of more than 100,000.
Therefore, Xiaomi's first car will be a mid-to-high-end car, with a price ranging from 100,000 to 300,000.
However, Lei Jun also said that if users like RVs, they will also consider customizing Xiaomi's smart RVs in the future.
In the live broadcast room, Han Lu also asked whether Xiaomi will use the new logo purchased by Xiaomi for 2 million and whether it will continue to use the Xiaomi brand name. Lei Jun said that the opinions are still not unified. After some time, he will continue to share Xiaomi with everyone. More information about the car.
Many companies that build cars now are said to be PPT. They build cars for financing. We will pay all our money this time, so please don’t sweat it. We have considered countless difficulties and problems. This time I will remove the burden. We Will go all out to build a good car for everyone.
Is Xiaomi making cars reliable?
Xiaomi Motors has always been the first place on the wish list of "Mi Fans".
Since 2013, Lei Jun has shown great interest in the electric vehicle industry.
Although there have been ups and downs in Xiaomi building cars since 2013, and Xiaomi has also refuted rumors many times, at the same time, Xiaomi also began to act silently during this period of time.
When Xiaomi announced to build a car, Lei Jun believed that Xiaomi's entry into the automotive field has the following three advantages:
- Xiaomi has the world's most complete smart ecosystem
- Xiaomi has a team of more than 10,000 engineers
- Xiaomi is backed by the world's third-largest mobile phone business
Let's look at it one by one, the smart ecological chain is indeed a big advantage for Xiaomi.
Automobiles used to be one of the industries with the highest barriers to entry, but electrification, intelligence, and networking have given technology companies the best opportunity to enter the game. Next, powertrains such as engines and gearboxes are no longer key competitiveness.
Software, services, and ecosystems will become the core of future cars.
Now Xiaomi has the world's largest smart hardware IoT platform . From the entire home environment to every home product, the Mijia smart ecology is all over the "clothing, food and housing", and then there is "going" to make up.
After opening up the field of smart travel, it will have a synergistic effect with Xiaomi's AIoT to create a full-scenario of its own smart life. For consumers, they can also have a more comprehensive and systematic smart experience.
Many software architectures and technologies are interlinked, such as cloud services and Internet services.
However, to move the entire ecological chain to the car, a completely new layout is required.
The integration of technology in the automotive industry requires very powerful capabilities, not just ecological advantages.
Xiaomi has a certain accumulation in smart cockpits, the integration of cars and mobile phones, and artificial intelligence. However, in terms of important autonomous driving technology, it can be seen from the few applications of Xiaomi car patents that Xiaomi cars exist in this field. With shortcomings.
In order to quickly catch up with the technical reserves, Xiaomi has also been paying close attention to establishing the corresponding talent team and investment layout.
Since 2013, Lei Jun has visited Tesla CEO Musk twice to learn from his experience, and has successively invested in nearly ten companies in the field of smart electric vehicles, including Weilai and Xiaopeng, as well as Beixing, which is a lidar, and a car. The technology research of Chemi Technology, etc., is constantly being reserved for the final unveiling.
For Xiaomi, which has always pursued "fastness", it is also realizing "the stone of another mountain can be used for jade" by attracting talents.
On January 15, 2021, Xiaomi began to conduct serious research on car-making. Now it has a team of more than 10,000 engineers, which enables Xiaomi to further study the development of chips, batteries, chassis, motors and other configurations.
In addition to software, vehicle capabilities are the most important.
In the entire industry chain, China has actually built the world's most complete smart car industry chain, which also provides fertile ground for Xiaomi: from the development and production of key components, to the design and manufacture of complete vehicles, logistics and warehousing…
However, it seems that Xiaomi does not want to find a foundry to integrate other people's production lines and master software technology, like the previous Internet companies, but wants to become a vehicle manufacturer.
In fact, many of Xiaomi's existing supply chain partners also cover the automotive part, but just like moving software technology to the automotive field, it is also not simple to transfer Xiaomi's experience in combining software and hardware to automobiles.
Building a car is completely different from building a mobile phone, and it is many times more complicated than building a mobile phone.
Car manufacturing is an asset-heavy business, which will consume a lot of resources, and at the same time bring a long-term financial burden to the company, which may have an impact on the current company's profitability.
Fortunately, Xiaomi said that it has enough funds to face this cross-border game.
It's just that the tens of billions of investment in the first ten years mentioned by Lei Jun is actually not much compared to the top players in the industry, but it still makes Xiaomi's car production look more grounded and reliable in the early stage.
At the press conference, Lei Jun also stated that as of December (last year), Xiaomi had 108 billion yuan in cash in hand. Regarding the funds needed to build a car, Lei Jun said domineeringly:
We can afford to build a car.
On the second day after Xiaomi announced the building of a car, the stock price of Xiaomi expanded to nearly 6% during the intraday market, and the company's market value has increased by more than 20 billion.
However, this 108 billion is not a real asset, not to mention the great test of cash flow when building a car. LeEco once burned money too fast because of the car building business, and finally it was unable to save it at a critical juncture.
Although supported by the world's third-largest mobile phone business, Xiaomi also has a huge existing business to manage. Xiaomi also said that it does not accept foreign investment at this time.
But this is also a good thing for consumers, because in this way Xiaomi can complete the initiative to build cars, without considering the interests of multiple parties, and make products that they think users and the market love most.
It's just that this car may no longer be the "young man's first car" with super high cost performance.
Xiaomi has already planned to enter the high-end market and get rid of the stereotypes of "low-end". Cars are Xiaomi's leading brand in the high-end market. With the future intelligentization of the auto industry, the cost of making cars will also become higher and higher.
How to regain the favor of more consumers in the automotive consumption field, which focuses on brand honor and is full of contempt chains, is also the next challenge for Xiaomi.
Similarly, Xiaomi’s in-depth understanding of users, the rice fans with strong loyalty, and Xiaomi’s product experience and business model are all unique highlights of Xiaomi’s Internet commerce.
In general, the environment is right, the time is right, Xiaomi also has its own absolute advantage, but whether Xiaomi can succeed in building a car depends on the core technology, the adaptation of the software and hardware experience to the automotive field, the continuous investment of funds, and the fans. Can it be converted into sales and so on.
However, now that Lei Jun has announced it, it means that he is ready, just like when someone sighed about Xiaomi's luck, Lei Jun said:
We are not speculators in any form, but destiny favors those who are prepared, nothing more.
The surging mobile phone brands that "build cars"
After experiencing the rise of new car-making forces such as Weilai, Ideal, and Xiaopeng, as well as Internet giants' involvement in the car-making industry, Xiaomi is now the second team to enter the smart electric vehicle.
Did not catch up with the first wave of craze, but can learn from the experience of the predecessors.
But the second wave does not mean that it is easier to build cars. The entry of Apple, Huawei and other mobile phone manufacturers will make Xiaomi about to embrace more fierce competition.
These mobile phone manufacturers not only have advantages at the software level, but also have a strong appeal to the new generation of consumers.
So why do various mobile phone manufacturers start to make cars?
Take Xiaomi as an example. Although Xiaomi ranked fourth in the world’s mobile phone shipments since 2018, and entered the top three last year, in Xiaomi’s 2019 annual report, mobile phone business revenue accounted for 59% of total revenue. The profit only accounts for 5.7% of the total gross profit. It can be seen that the mobile phone business is actually not so profitable, and it is difficult for Xiaomi mobile phones to compete.
In fact, the global mobile phone market has also reached a state of saturation. The competition among mobile phone manufacturers has intensified, and it is difficult for smartphones in the Internet era to continue to expand.
Cars are the next blast for these mobile phone manufacturers.
The automotive industry is accelerating the digital transformation. Under this excellent opportunity, if you want to continue to develop, if you want to continue to make money, building cars has become unstoppable.
In a minutes of Xiaomi's car-making exchanges , Xiaomi also mentioned that the opportunities in the automobile market are ten times (10 trillion) of the mobile phone market.
At the same time, the government is also supporting emerging industries related to car manufacturing. The National Plan also mentions that by 2025, the sales of new energy vehicles in my country will reach about 20% of the total sales of new vehicles. But until the end of 2020, the number of new energy vehicles in my country is only 1.75%.
Within this 18.25% gap, a huge gold mine is waiting for the eager contestants.
At present, Huawei has completed the comprehensive layout of autonomous driving technology, intelligent technology, and three-electric system . Huawei's HiCar ecosystem partners already have 30 car factories such as Audi, FAW, and Chery. At the same time, it has also cooperated with Changan Automobile and CATL to start deepening. At the manufacturing end of the automotive industry chain, the announcement of building a car is a matter of notice.
In fact, Apple had already reported its intention to build cars in the Jobs era. Although there have been many rumors in recent years, they have not officially responded. However, Apple has obtained a large number of patents in the fields of autonomous driving, electric vehicles, and smart cockpits. Layout.
Xiaomi's advantage does not seem to be that strong compared to the two, but various mobile phone manufacturers are still working non-stop.
Samsung launched the first Samsung car SM5 as early as 1998, but then disappeared. The year before, it launched the first self-driving car chip ExynosAutoV9 jointly with Audi. It is now further developing the next generation of self-driving chips, trying to master the core technology.
And last year, vivo released Jovi InCar, a brand new brand of connected car products. OPPO also cooperated with Ideal ONE for car-machine interconnection…
Many mobile phone manufacturers have joined the ranks of car manufacturers, which has a good role in promoting the innovation of the electric vehicle industry, and can also drive the development of the entire electric vehicle industry.
But at the same time, they must continue to improve technology, promote product landing, pay attention to the risks brought by short-term investment, vicious competition, and marketing wars, and jointly bring more cutting-edge forces to fill the domestic automotive industry's deficiencies.
For example, the current "core shortage" problem in the automotive industry is becoming more and more serious . Chips are also a huge shortcoming of the domestic supply chain, and key components are all monopolized by foreign countries.
In the future battlefield full of smoke, China's new energy vehicles are bound to become a key part of the global automobile market.
Who is the number one player is not yet known, but as Lei Jun said:
It's time for a big fight.
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