huawei electric car
Image only for representation (Credit: YouTube / TechCrunch)

HUAWEI has today announced plans to invest $1 billion for research in the domain of electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and connected vehicles. HUAWEI chairman Eric Xu has revealed that the company is joining hands with three brands – BAIC Group, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. – for the launch of co-branded self-driving cars.

“The smart car business unit receives one of the heaviest investments from Huawei. We will invest more than $1 billion in car component development this year. China adds 30 million cars each year and the number is growing. Even if we don’t tap the market outside of China, if we can earn an average 10,000 yuan from each car sold in China, that’s already a very big business for Huawei.”
– Eric Xu via Bloomberg.

HUAWEI is going against Apple and Xiaomi with its EV and self-driving ambitions

Notably, Xu mentioned that HUAWEI’s self-driving technology can allow a vehicle to cover a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers without any human assistance. This is on par of with Tesla’s own fully self-driving technology, which is currently being tested as a beta. Tesla has not revealed a ‘maximum self-driving distance without human intervention’ number, but earlier this year in January, a YouTuber posted a video of his journey in a Tesla car, covering 350+ miles with almost no human intervention at all. Reports suggest that rival Apple also an EV car in the pipeline that will be fully autonomous.

READ MORE: Xiaomi is going to make electric vehicles too.

The rotating HUAWEI chairman mentioned that delving into a rapidly growing EV and smart car segment will not only provide HUAWEI an early lead, but will also serve as a medium for the company to ensure that it survives the stringent trade sanctions imposed by the US government. To recall, HUAWEI has been reeling from trade sanctions that have crippled its supply chain – especially when it comes to semiconductors – and has adversely affected its smartphone business, both in the international as well as domestic markets.

It is not just another business expansion, but also a means of survival for HUAWEI

HUAWEI already has partnerships with automobile giants such as Mercedes for supplying connected smart car solutions. Back in May last year. HUAWEI entered an alliance with 18 companies to boost the development of 5G-connected cars. Back in July last year, Chinese automaker BYD revealed the world’s first car powered by HUAWEI’s HiCar system based HarmonyOS. And earlier this month, ArcFox launched its own electric car based on HUAWEI’s platform with Harmony OS as the foundation, and 5G connectivity as well.

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.