Chinese automakers shocked by Apple's decision to cancel car project

By Hartley Charlton

Apple's decision to cancel its electric vehicle project has surprised ambitious new Chinese automakers such as Xiaomi, reports the South China Morning Post.

Yesterday, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that after a decade of work and millions of dollars in development costs, Apple has canceled its plans to bring electric vehicles to market, moving many of its 2,000 employees to work on the project instead generative artificial intelligence. The decision came as a surprise to new technology-focused Chinese electric vehicle brands such as Xiaomi, Li Auto and Xpeng, which considered Apple's upcoming car one of their main competitors.

Xiaomi is one of the largest electric vehicle manufacturers in China . electronics manufacturing companies and is best known for its line of smartphones. The company unveiled its first electric car, the SU7, late last year and it will go on sale after further testing. The project required more than $1.4 billion in development costs and more than 3,400 engineers.

Founder and Chairman Lei Jun wrote on Weibo today that he was “very shocked” by the news of Apple's decision to abandon the production of electric vehicles. He added that he “deeply knows how difficult it is to make cars”, but Xiaomi has made an “unwavering strategic choice” in favor of electric vehicles. He Xiaopeng, chairman of Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng, expressed similar disbelief that Apple was abandoning its car plans.

Li Xiang, CEO of Beijing electric vehicle maker Li Auto, noted on Weibo that Apple's decision shift the focus from electric vehicles to artificial intelligence was “absolutely right.” “AI will be the top-tier input for all the devices, services, apps and transactions that Apple needs to stay on top of,” he added.

Chinese brands account for a rapidly growing share of global EV sales. Last year, Chinese company BYD overtook Tesla as the world's leading electric vehicle maker.

Related review: Apple Car Tags: China, South China Morning Post, Xiaomi Related forum: Apple, Inc and the tech industry [186 comments]

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