By Peter Hoskins

Business reporter

Chinese technology giant Xiaomi says it will start deliveries of its first electric vehicle (EV) this month – its first ever foray into the competitive automotive industry.

The car’s price is expected to be announced on 28 March.

China’s fifth-largest smartphone maker says it has 59 stores in 29 cities around the country to take orders.

It comes as a price war intensifies between firms like BYD and Tesla in China, the world’s biggest car market.

At the unveiling of the Speed Ultra 7 (SU7) last year, Xiaomi’s chief executive Lei Jun said the company aims to become one of the top five car makers in the world.

The smartphone giant has said it will invest $10bn (£7.8bn) in its vehicles business over the next 10 years.

Mr Lei said the SU7 was “super electric motor” technology which is capable of accelerating faster than some Tesla and Porsche EVs.

Xiaomi is also hoping that the car’s shared operating system with its phones and other devices will appeal to existing customers.

It is one of the few new prospective entrants to the China’s electric car market to gain approval from authorities as officials try to curb a flood of new players.

The SU7 will be made by a unit of state-owned car manufacturer BAIC Group at a plant in Beijing that can produce as many as 200,000 vehicles a year.

The launch of Xiaomi Automobile comes as a price war in China’s EV market has been intensifying.

Tesla, which is headed by multi-billionaire Elon Musk, has cut the cost of its cars in China by thousands of dollars in recent months as local rivals like BYD have slashed its prices.

Xiaomi shares jumped by more 10% in Hong Kong after today’s announcement.


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