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SAIC exploring deep integration of vehicle systems with phones

NIO doesn’t seem to be alone in trying to get cell phones to interact better with vehicles.

SAIC Motor is planning a deeper integration of vehicle systems with cell phone manufacturers and plans to release information about it in late June or early July, the largest Chinese automaker said today, according to a report in local media Caijing.

“The attributes of cars as mobile terminals in the smart electric era overlap significantly with those of phones,” said Shen Haoming, deputy general manager of SAIC’s technology management department, according to the report.

SAIC is planning a deep integration with cell phone manufacturers to achieve ecological intergration of in-vehicle systems and cell phones, Shen said.

The previous car company to reveal a similar plan was NIO (NYSE: NIO, HKG: 9866, SGX: NIO), whose founder, chairman and CEO William Li said during an appearance on a talk show in late March that NIO is in the research phase about making cell phones.

NIO’s customers want to see a phone that connects better with cars, which prompted the company to study the industry, Li said.

“We’re going to look at this direction positively and are aware that getting a phone produced is easy, but building a good phone is challenging,” he said at the time.

Even if NIO makes phones, it’s not thinking in terms of commercial success, but whether users want an NIO phone and whether it will enhance the owner’s experience, he said.

Geely seems to have gone further and earlier in the field.

Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology Co Ltd, a cell phone company based in Wuhan and founded by Geely Holding Group Chairman Eric Li, plans to acquire a 79.09 percent stake in Zhuhai-based Meizu, according to an operator concentration case revealed by China’s State China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on June 13.

Xingji Shidai signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone on September 28 last year, marking Geely’s official entry into the cell phone sector.

The company aims to make high-end smartphones to serve the global market, according to a previous press release sent to CnEVPost.

Back at SAIC, its announcement earlier this month showed it is coming out of the Covid impact, selling 363,591 vehicles in May, 10.61 percent below the 406,735 units sold in the same month last year.

SAIC sold 71,658 new energy vehicles (NEVs) in May, up 56.6 percent from 45,758 units in the same month last year.

SAIC first announced new energy vehicle sales in August 2021.

This article was first published by Phate Zhang on CnEVPost, a website focusing on new energy vehicle news from China.

CnEVPost is a website focused on the coverage of the new energy vehicle industry in China. As with our original intent for CnTechPost, there are a lot of interesting things happening in the Chinese EV industry every day, but they are not covered by the mainstream English language media. We're here to keep track of what's happening in the Chinese EV industry and strive to be the first to publish what we see in English.