Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has folded its smart car business into its consumer segment as part of a corporate reshuffle following the decision to sell off its budget smartphone brand Honor.
But the Chinese tech giant, which has been cut off from its supply of high-tech smartphone chips by U.S. sanctions, reiterated that it has no intention of manufacturing whole smart cars, and will instead continue to focus on the technology that drives them.
According to a plan the company released Wednesday, Huawei will shift business matters related to smart car solutions from its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) management committee to the consumer business group under veteran CEO Richard Yu.
It will also restructure the consumer group’s investment review board (IRB) into a smart terminal and smart car parts IRB. This will control investment-related decision-making and portfolio management for the smart car parts business that was previously undertaken by the ICT’s IRB.
The CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, Yu Chengdong, will lead the new IRB.
The organizational reshuffle follows the smartphone maker’s sale of its budget handset brand Honor to a consortium of over 30 agents and retailers in a move to counter the effects of U.S. sanctions on chipsets.
“Huawei’s focus is on ICT technology to help automakers build better cars and supply essential parts needed for internet-connected smart cars,” the company said in Wednesday’s release, which was dated Oct. 26.
Issued by Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, the statement strongly distanced the company from automaking ambitions, saying “anyone who suggests that Huawei build cars can find another job.”
The integration of smart car solutions into the consumer group is seen as a way of combining resources and manpower, which often overlap in the development of intelligent platforms for cars.
“Everything in Huawei’s vision is related to smartphones, and a car is just a phone on four wheels,” Wang Chenglu, president of software business under Huawei’s consumer unit, told Caixin in September. The company’s plan to develop car technology platforms involves including software applications used in smartphones into the screens found in cars, he added.
The smart car solutions unit is now partnering with Harmony OS and Huawei Mobile Services — an alternative to Google Mobile Services containing apps that launch on smartphones — to build the platform for cars, Huawei sources said.
Before the announced merger, automakers wanting to partner with Huawei to build cars needed to deal separately with the smart car solutions unit and the consumer group.
The smart car unit held an auto exhibition in September where the rotating chairman, Xu Zhijun, predicted that consumers could see cars operating with a full range of Huawei technology and equipment by 2022.
This is an original article written by Zheng Lichun, Zhang Erchi, and Anniek Bao of Caixin Global, and has been republished with permission. The article can be found on Caixin’s website here.
(Header image: A family visits Huawei’s booth at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, Oct. 2, 2020. People Visual)