Xiaomi, the “Apple of China,” is expected to announce an electric vehicle on Monday.
The Chinese technology company has published a teaser on social media advertising an announcement on December 12.
The Chinese-language post includes an image of a tire-print, and mentions cruise control, an anti-lock breaking system, regenerative breaking, and other features, according to NDTV’s translation.
So what is the vehicle? At this point, it’s not clear. Back in June 2016, the company launched an electric bike — the QiCycle — so it’s possible it is a successor to that. But as The Indian Express points out, some of the features mentioned, like cruise control, are seemingly better suited to a car than a bike.
Launched in 2010, Xiaomi grew rapidly through sales of low-cost smartphones and with the help of a famously devoted fanbase. At one point it was the world’s most valuable tech startup, valued at $46 billion (£36.5 billion), but some of the buzzy sheen has worn off the company after it failed to hit its ambitious sales goals for 2015.
Xiaomi is sometimes referred to as the Apple of China — not only because of its passionate customers and its charismatic Steve Jobs-esque CEO, but also because some of its designs have historically looked very similar to Apple’s. Apple design chief Jony Ive once even labelled Xiaomi’s designs “theft,” a charge it disputed.
It is an open secret that Apple is also interested in the electric car space, and has quietly been working on an electric vehicle using the codename “Project Titan.” But the effort has been beset by problems, and Apple is believed to now be focusing on self-driving software instead.