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The Chinese automaker launches Geely in mobile and satellite phones

The pieces are starting to fall into place in automaker Geely’s effort to carve out a share in China’s hotly contested smart car market.

In the biggest development, Hubei subsidiary Xingji Shidai Technology this week acquired Alibaba-backed handset maker Meizu for an undisclosed amount.

The State Administration for Market Regulation revealed on Monday that Xingji Shidai, which is 79% owned by Geely, will buy 39% of Meizu from founder Jack Wong and another 27% from Alibaba Unit Taobao.

Geely's smart car platform reached another milestone early this month with the successful launch of its first nine LEOsats.  (Source: Alan Green / Alamy Stock Photo)

Geely’s smart car platform reached another milestone early this month with the successful launch of its first nine LEOsats.

(Source: Alan Green / Alamy Stock Photo)

Details are still being negotiated and the deal is still being reviewed by regulators. Reuters He said.

Xingji Shidai is backed by a 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) investment from Geely and targets sales of 3 million phones and 10 billion CNY in revenue in 2023.

Geely is the largest privately owned automobile company in China and the owner of European brands such as Lotus, Volvo and Link. It sold 1.33 million vehicles last year.

Non-trivial movement

Its move to mobile phones is not only counterintuitive, but defiantly goes against the trend of mobile operators like Huawei pushing smart car solutions or Xiaomi building its own outright (see Chinese auto giant Geely plunge into smartphones).

What’s more, Meizu is hardly an award. Once one of the largest mobile phone companies in China, its market share has shrunk to less than 1%.

Geely told Reuters in a statement that there is a “close connection in technology” between smart car cockpits and smartphone software.

Chairman Eric Lee sees mobile technology as an enabler that can build an ecosystem around a rich and convenient in-vehicle experience combined with satellite connectivity, 5G and the Internet of Vehicles.


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As it happens, Geely’s smart vehicle platform reached another big milestone early this month with the successful launch of its first nine LEOsats.

Geely is so far the only Chinese automaker to follow Elon Musk into space. But it’s a very different process from Starlink’s global broadband business.

The Geely constellation of 240 satellites, built by the aerospace subsidiary Gee Space, aims to be a global navigation system, capable of delivering centimeter-level accuracy.

The company aims to start commercial service in 2026 and expand its operations to belt countries in Central Asia and elsewhere.

Geely’s high-tech ambitions are not limited to smart cars. In its other recent initiatives, JV has teamed up with German air taxi maker Volocopter and is investing heavily to achieve self-reliance in chips, batteries and other core technologies by 2026.

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— Robert Clarke, contributing editor to Light Reading