From Alibaba-backed Xpeng to Nvidia’s partner, Li Auto, a series of Chinese electric vehicles are looking to replicate the success of the electric car maker Tesla and keep pace with the widespread electric revolution. globally.
But according to many experts, there is an anonymous competitor that Tesla must definitely watch out for. It is telecom giant Huawei, which is becoming the hub for the US-China technology confrontation.
In a public speech in 2019, Huawei’s rotating Chairman Xu Zhijun said: “If you look at Tesla’s stock price, you know where the future of the auto industry lies“At the beginning of September this year, Tesla’s market cap exceeded $ 500 billion, bigger than Ford, General Motors, Daimler, Volkswagen and Toyota combined.
The Porsche Panamera is driven by the Huawei Mate 10 Pro outside the Camp Nou Stadium, Spain during the MWC 2018 conference.
Xu’s comment also highlights a potential business focus for Huawei as it is struggling with the US government’s sanctions against its core businesses.
“Anything Tesla can do, we can.”
Huawei’s attention to automotive technologies dates back to 2013 when the company quietly set up a division to develop internet-connected car apps. In April 2019, the company made its first presence at Shanghai International auto fair in Shanghai, with plans to become a supplier of auto components. A month later, Huawei formally established its automotive business with a focus on smart car solutions.
Huawei’s automotive business consists of five divisions: smart driving systems, smart cockpit platforms, smart networks, smart electric vehicles, and cloud services. These parts are jointly overseen by Huawei’s smart auto division and the consumer business group, for the purpose of connecting automotive apps to other Huawei mobile services.
Although President Ren Zhengfei has repeatedly denied Huawei’s plan to participate in car manufacturing, the company has built up the ability to manufacture nearly everything needed for smart cars.
“Anything Tesla can do, we can. “Mr. Xu said in an interview in October last year.
A person close to the company said Huawei is aiming to be a comprehensive supplier of both the software and hardware for smart cars and seeks to dominate the industry. Globally, only 2 or 3 companies are capable of doing so, the source said. Huawei is also actively recruiting talent from auto component suppliers like Germany’s Bosch.
In May of this year, sources said Huawei collaborated with 18 Chinese carmakers to develop 5G applications for cars. Many of those partners are well-known Chinese automakers including FAW Group, Chang’an Automobile Co Ltd, SAIC Motors, BAIC Group and BYD Auto Co Ltd.
In mid-August, Huawei quietly reworked its business registration by adding operations including research, manufacturing and sales of auto components and smart driving systems to operation. its core business.
Huawei says that more than 20 car manufacturers with more than 150 different vehicle versions are already using their HiCar platform.
In early September, Huawei revealed version 2.0 for the Harmony operating system. Not only for Huawei smartphones, this operating system is also installed in Huawei’s smart cockpit platform, HiCar, allowing users to control most of the autonomous functions of their vehicles via electricity. Huawei phones.
About 20 car manufacturers have used Huawei’s HiCar smart cockpit platform so far. The platform is similar to Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, according to the company. According to Huawei, the number of models using the platform will exceed 500 by 2021.
Not only producing auto components or software for smart cars, Huawei also aims to self-produce cars through a cooperation agreement with BAIC BluePark, the electric vehicle manufacturing division of BAIC Group by the end of 2018. The first version of this co-development was named N61. The prototype of this car will start rolling in late 2020 and hit the market in the last quarter of 2021.
Liu Yu, general manager of BAIC BluePark, said the N61 will be equipped with all of Huawei’s hardware and software solutions for smart vehicles and can be autonomous at level 4 – meaning self-driving. completely under certain conditions.
A source at BAIC said that Huawei is hoping the N61 project can set a standard for applying to other automakers.
According to documents provided by BAIC, Huawei’s self-driving car system is equipped with 3 Lidar (laser object detection system) and distance detection systems, 6 radars with mm wavelength, 12 ultrasonic radars. and 13 cameras. The system is powered by two high-end Ascend AI chips. Its hardware configuration is said to be even more advanced than the Tesla Model 3.
Even a source at Huawei said that the company has stockpiles of chips to support research and small-scale car production, despite the US trade ban.
The way out for Huawei
More than just a potential business, for Huawei, the auto business is even more important as its core businesses – including telecom equipment and smartphones – are struggling. towels due to sanctions from the US government. A source said that Mr. Nham is trying to bring Huawei into this business, regardless of the cost. Huawei, in particular, wants to do everything with chips in cars.
On April 25, Huawei launched HiCharger, a super-fast charging module for smart electric cars
Most industry observers interviewed by the Caixin news site believe that Huawei can absolutely become a major player in the auto industry. They can become a technology platform for the industry, just like Android operating system for smartphones.
Or maybe a parts supplier for smart cars. The director of a leading car manufacturer said, “Huawei is likely to become the Chinese version of Bosch“and threatens to other auto parts suppliers.
Even other carmakers are concerned about the possibility that Huawei will make its own cars and that could change the industry. “They have also said in the past that they will not make phonesNow, 17 years after that announcement, they are now the third largest smartphone maker in the world, behind Samsung and Apple.
Huawei’s ambitions and technological prowess are frightening its own partners. Many automakers said they just wanted to work together to embrace Huawei technology, but on the other hand, they are also afraid of deep cooperation as Huawei is becoming increasingly a threat to themselves.
With the current growth momentum, the explosion of smart cars will come within two to three years as the industry moves toward smarter, industry analysts say. That would be the opportunity Huawei is trying to embrace.
Refer to Nikkei