In an exciting update to the typically predictable smartphone market, the owner of Chinese auto manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding has announced he is throwing his hat in the ring with a new smartphone slated for release in 2023. Eric Li reached an agreement with the Wuhan National Economic and Technological Development Zone under his new company, Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology Co Ltd, to begin the development of smart devices with a base in centrally located Wuhan. This move follows his forays into more fantastical ventures like flying cars and helicopter taxis. Unlike those, the smartphone scene is a bit busier, for obvious reasons. Giants like Apple, Android, and Huawei already struggle for power. Despite this, Li expects to sell 3 million phones within the first year. An ambitious goal from the owner of Volvo. Geely has not released extensive details regarding the release, the branding, and the date of which is still unknown, but has stated that the phones and other smart devices will serve “as a pathway to greater automotive applications.”
This will be the first case of an automaker pushing into the smartphone space (the same can’t be said of smartphone makers as Apple and Google have both begun assembling electric vehicles). Li hopes to make a splash, aiming to reach a cumulative revenue of 150 billion yuan within eight years, employ 3,000 people, and list on the stock market upon obtaining enough capital. With the recognition already established this brand will have a much-needed head start. China’s smartphone shipments declined 17% year-on-year in the second quarter of this year. Also, the improvements made in smartphones are now minor enough individuals aren’t experiencing the same drive to get a new device they had when add-ons like wireless charging first came out.
From the looks of it, Geely is expecting to do more than introduce a new smartphone. The company wishes to add an extension to its already forward-thinking automobiles. What this could mean is yet to be known, but consumers could soon see the relationship between their phone and car change dramatically. Similar to all major car manufacturers, Geely hopes to remain at the forefront of intelligent vehicle construction, smartphones may be the extra step that sets them apart.