Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi gets into electric cars race, plans $10 billion investment

Smartphone maker Xiaomi is getting into electric cars.

The Chinese company on Tuesday said it will invest $10 billion over the next decade in a subsidiary focused on the “smart electric vehicle business.”

The company said in a stock market filing that the new unit will be led by billionaire CEO Lei Jun. The initial investment will be worth 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), the company said.

Xiaomi is one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers but it also produces a range of gadgets including home security cameras, electric shavers and toothbrushes, light bulbs, watches and scooters. The company did not provide further details on its strategy for entering the automotive industry, and whether it will focus on manufacturing, software, or both.

No matter its plans, Xiaomi will face a crowded field of competitors who are trying to produce electric vehicles at scale including Tesla and traditional carmakers such as Volkswagen, General Motors, all of them who have been working for years to develop and sell electric cars that consumers want to buy.

Numerous tech companies have established partnerships with carmakers, hoping to capitalize on the huge potential market for software application such as autonomous driving.