China’s Xiaomi hints it is looking to build electric cars

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China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi has hinted at plans to build electric vehicles as tech groups progressively look to cars as next-generation smart devices.

In a regulatory filing in India publicised this week, Xiaomi stated it may offer “all types of automobiles for transportation, conveyance and other transportation equipment, whether based on electricity or any other intention or mechanical power, consisting of the components, extra parts” in India.

The company has not revealed any concrete strategies to make electric vehicles in its native China and informed it was not presently looking for any licences or permission to produce them. “We have nothing in the pipeline,” stated one company worker.

Lei Jun, the company’s celebrity founder, last hinted the possibility of making a car at the start of 2015– then ruling out that it would happen within “next three to five years”.

Tech savvy Chinese customers increasingly see in-car “connectivity”– being able to do things such as shopping and searching social media while on the road– as a crucial element in choosing a vehicle.

Sixty-four percent of Chinese surveyed by McKinsey in a study released last month stated they would switch brands for better in-car connectivity, compared to 37 percent of Americans and 19 percent of Germans. In China, “Connectivity is a must-have function”, the report stated.

Chinese options to car software such as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are expanding.

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