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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. began selling its first electric car on Thursday. He is betting on the fact that he can be successful in a very aggressive market where the American giant Apple Inc. it was not successful.

Xiaomi has started selling its first electric cars

Lei Jun is the co-founder of Xiaomi. He presented the company’s strategy on the electric car market on Thursday evening. It starts with the base SU7 model that costs 215,900 yuan ($29,900) and can go up to 299,900 yuan for the SU7 Max model. Xiaomi plans to start delivering cars at the end of April. It also offers incentives for those who place orders quickly, such as built-in refrigerators.

The base model SU7 costs $29,900

These vehicles are the culmination of a multi-year, $10 billion program. Like Apple in the US, Xiaomi saw an opportunity in expanding into the electric car market. This at a time when cars are adding more and more electronics and connectivity. Apple abandoned its car project in February, while the Chinese firm decided to move on.

Xiaomi’s ambitious bet on the electric car market comes at a time of slowing electric car sales in China. Industry bodies expect a 25% increase in sales in 2024, down from a 36% advance last year and a 96% increase in 2022.

In parallel, the global electric car market, once an explosive growth sector with significant subsidy opportunities, has become an extremely competitive one. Tesla and BYD Co. dominate the market in China, the world’s largest market, and are currently engaged in a price war that puts pressure on smaller players.

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