Smartphone and home appliances giant Xiaomi is entering the electric vehicle (EV) arena, and will build a plant with an annual capacity 300,000 units in Beijing, authorities in the capital said, reported by Reuters.

The factory will be built in two phases and Xiaomi will also base its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone. This was announced by the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town added that it anticipated the plant starting mass production in 2024, consistent with the goal announced by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun last month.

Here’s some background on Xiaomi’s EV push. In March, the smartphone giant (third in global smartphone shipments in Q3 2021) said it would commit to investing US$10 billion (RM42.38 billion) in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit – Xiaomi EV Company – in late August. Previous reports have mentioned automaker Great Wall as partner, as well as the acquisition of Borgward and its production facility in Beijing.

Xiaomi has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its Mi phone business, but eventually intends to use these outlets as a channel for EV sales, it is reported. Currently, there are over 10,000 stores in Mainland China.

Xiaomi isn’t the only Chinese company known for its phones venturing into EVs – Huawei is in on the action too. The electronics giant is working together with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) to develop an electric SUV with Level 4 autonomous capability, expected to hit the market by end-2023. The two companies officially announced the project in July. Tech giant Baidu is also in the game, with Geely as partner.