Huawei has appointed auto industry veteran Zheng Gang as chief strategic officer of the company’s intelligent automotive solutions business unit, Chinese news outlet Tencent News reported on Saturday.
Zheng, former general manager of state-backed electric vehicle (EV) maker BAIC BJEV, attended last week’s China EV100 Forum 2020 in his new role. This confirmed rumors circulating since November that Zheng was set to join the company.
At the conference, he laid his vision for Huawei amid major changes happening in the auto industry.
“In the future, auto parts and the vehicle’s software will be able to be upgraded and replaced. This will completely change the business model for automobile companies, and automobile purchases will no longer be a one-time thing,” Zheng said.
“The mission for Huawei’s intelligent automotive solutions unit is to become the smart component provider by enabling traditional automakers to build better vehicles with information and communication technology”, he added.
Zheng served BAIC Group for nearly 20 years in various leadership roles. The state-owned automobile and machine manufacturer is one of China’s largest automakers, producing Mercedes and Hyundai branded vehicles for the Chinese market as part of joint ventures with Hyundai and Daimler AG.
As the general manager of BAIC BJEV since 2014, the company’s EV arm, Zheng oversaw a period of significant sales growth for the automaker and the EV industry as a whole. Going from just 5,462 cars sold in 2014, BAIC BJEV reported 158,000 electric vehicles sold in 2018. According to its 2018 annual report, it has ranked first for EV sales in China for six consecutive years.
Zheng left BAIC BJEV in February 2019 due to personal health reasons, according to the company’s announcement.
A spate of recent announcements has put Huawei’s auto industry ambitions, an open secret for several years, into the spotlight.
Huawei set up a business unit for smart mobility in May and debuted its Level 4 full-stack intelligent driving solution in September. The company has inked partnerships with several automotive companies including Audi, BYD, BAIC BJEV, and Changan Automobile to further enter the automotive market.
Huawei also obtained a certification in November that clears the way to sell its smart automotive service to the European market.