Letv’s ‘Mule’ electric vehicle on track for Beijing Auto Show in 2016

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-27 23:53:01

Beijing-based leading online video provider Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp (Letv) on Tuesday said its first electric vehicle would debut at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2016, targeting the booming domestic new-energy auto market.

The company's first electric vehicle, called Mule Car, has completed testing in the US, Ding Lei, former vice president of State-owned automaker SAIC Motor Corp and co-founder of Letv's car division Le Auto, told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

According to Ding, Le Auto's global R&D team has more than 700 employees worldwide with 400 based in the US.

The company has big ambitions in the domestic new-energy vehicle industry, which is being aggressively encouraged by the central government to cope with China's air pollution.

Letv said that it has formed a partnership with Aston Martin, a UK premium sportscar brand that's most associated with James Bond, to explore opportunities in the electric car industry.

In September, the company also put an undisclosed sum into a start-up involved in building and renting charging stations, Beijing Dianzhuang Technology Co, paving the way for its electric car business.

In the first nine months, sales of new-energy vehicles stood at 136,733 in China, up 230 percent year-on-year, in part driven by government subsidies, according to a report released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on October 13.

Letv is not the only Internet company moving into the nascent market.

Chinese Internet powerhouse Tencent Holdings became one of the latest to weigh in by signing an agreement with Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry and Chinese premium auto dealer China Harmony Auto Holding to develop smart electric vehicles, Tencent-backed news portal qq.com reported in March.

Letv has been also actively diversifying into smartphones and smart TVs.

At the press conference on Tuesday, Letv CEO and founder Jia Yueting introduced the company's latest generation of smartphones as well as a 120-inch TV, which the company claimed is the world's largest smart 3D TV with a 4K display, offering higher resolution.

Its rival, Beijing-based smartphone rising star Xiaomi Inc, released its new smart TVs on Tuesday morning. 

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