More on NIO’s smartphone plan: an industry veteran joins, flagship model’s price revealed

August 11, 2022 0 Comments

The highly anticipated NIO smartphone plan have made notable strides in recent days.

Yi Wei, the former senior vice president of Meitu Mobile, has joined the NIO mobile phone team as the head of the software department, Future Auto Daily reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Yi has worked in the mobile phone industry for more than ten years. Before joining Meitu Mobile, he served as the general manager of OPPO’s emerging mobile terminal business unit.

Meitu is known in China for its super-popular beauty camera software, Meitu Xiuxiu. In 2013, the company released the first mobile phone Meitu Kiss, which optimized the camera function and targeted young female consumers. After a brief hit, the company’s smartphone products quickly fell silent as their overall performance were inferior to rivals like OPPO, Vivo and even Xiaomi.

A source close to the situation has revealed that NIO has a smartphone team of around 300 workers, some of them are from well-known Chinese smartphone companies like OPPO, Meitu, and Huawei.

According to the electric vehicle (EV) company’s career page, a considerable number of smartphone-related positions, including Camera App development engineer, Android engineer, and smart watch product manager, are open for hiring.

In February, NIO reportedly hired Yin Shuijun, the former president of Meitu Mobile, to lead its mobile phone business.

While the company has tried to keep the ambition secret, its smartphone business officially established on Aug. 4, according to business data and investigation platform Tianyancha.

The newly-formed entity has a registered capital of 100 million US dollars, and its business scope includes information system integration services, artificial intelligence application software development; communication equipment sales, wearable smart devices sales, smart vehicle equipment sales, etc.

NIO’s first high-end flagship smartphone model, expected to be sold for more than 7,000 yuan (US$1037.85) and released in 2023, would reportedly be equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 series CPU, so that it may interact more seamlessly with the company’s EVs.

If NIO’s smartphone is indeed priced at above US$1,000, it will have a hard time competing with iPhones in the same price range, since the latter are at the pinnacle of the industry in terms of performance, ecosystem, operating system, etc.

With the need to further digitize the EVs, some Chinese automakers are increasing their investments in mobile phones, as the smart devices are seen as keys to connected cars.

Geely, headquartered in Zhejiang, announced its entry into the mobile phone market in September of last year, and last month, it bought a 79% stake in veteran Chinese smartphone maker Meizu Technology.

However, the smartphone industry isn’t looking rosy for car manufacturers right now. Data from StrategyAnalytics shows that smartphone shipments in China dropped to 67.7 million units in the second quarter, a 14% year-over-year decrease.

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