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China smartphone maker Xiaomi to invest $10 billion in new EV unit over 10 years

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has formally entered the automotive industry with a new smart electric vehicle (EV) business, the company announced on Tuesday in a filing.

The firm will initially invest 10 billion yuan ($1.52 billion) in the wholly-owned subsidiary, with a total investment goal of $10 billion over the next ten years.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun will also serve as CEO of the smart electric vehicle unit, the company added.

The company's move into the EV industry follows similar steps by other tech giants, both in China and overseas.

In January, Chinese search giant Baidu Inc announced it would develop an EV unit via a partnership with domestic car maker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.

In February, Reuters reported that beleaguered Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is currently in talks with state-owned automaker Changan Automobile and other companies to manufacture EVs.

Apple Inc has also long been planning an entry into the EV market, according to reports.

Last week Reuters reported exclusively that Xiaomi was in talks to partner with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co for help in manufacturing EVs.

Xiaomi declined to comment on the report, while Great Wall said in an exchange filing that it had not discussed such a partnership with Xiaomi.

($1 = 6.5647 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz, editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)