Chinese automaker Geely launches premium smartphone business

Logo of Chinese car manufacturer Geely Auto.

Zhang Peng | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese automaker Geely Holding is entering the smartphone business after its founder established a new company.

Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology Co. Ltd., founded by Eric Li, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, to manufacture mobile phones, according to Geely.

The company will be headquartered in Wuhan and will focus on “integrating global technologies and resources to develop high-end smart devices, including smart phones for global consumers,” Geely said in a press release.

Geely’s entry into smartphones highlights the automaker’s desire to tap into new areas, which has allowed the company to venture into satellites and flying cars.

Smartphone shipments in China fell 17% year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm Canalys. Globally, shipments have increased by more than 13%, according to IDC data.

As Huawei’s market share dwindled due to US sanctions, Chinese competitors like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo sought to attract customers.

Geely is entering a fierce market and could face Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi in the premium smartphone category.

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The company did not give details on the brand of the phones or when they would launch, but said smartphones complement its automotive business.

Li said phones and mobile devices can act “as a path to larger automotive applications.”

“There is a strong link between technologies within intelligent vehicle cockpits and software technologies for smartphones. The major trend in the coming future is to create user ecosystems across borders and provide users with more convenient, smarter, and seamlessly connected multi-screen experiences. ” he added.

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