In March, 2021, Xiaomi announced its plan to build electric vehicles, which would expand its already highly diversified electronics portfolio. In the words of Lei Jun—Xiaomi’s iconic founder, he would risk his reputation for the last major project in his life and pump in around US$10 billion over the next decade.
To achieve this ambition, the first step is to put together a team just like the Marvel movies’ episode in which highly capable heroes are organized to complete the seemingly impossible missions.
Apart from the regular “urgent positions” that need to be filled, Xiaomi made another high-profile hire—employing Yu Liguo as vice president for its car business and the political commissar of Xiaomi Auto Beijing Headquarters, responsible for coordinating Xiaomi Auto’s comprehensive management work, special business promotion, and Xiaomi Auto Beijing Headquarters organization and talent pool cultivation.
Born in 1980s, Mr. Yu obtained his doctorate from Beijing Institute of Technology. According to public data, Yu Liguo has successively served as director of strategic planning department of BAIC Group, executive deputy general manager of BAIC New Energy, president of Blue Park Smart Energy and President of ARCFOX.
When he presided over the initial stage of ARCFOX, he was in charge of its product R&D, manufacturing, and marketing and laid a solid foundation for the brand’s development by enabling the cooperation between ARCFOX and Huawei, which improves the intelligence and connectivity of the electric cars. However, he fell from grace and stayed low for months after he threatened one of the car owners in a controversial post.
Against this background, Xiaomi’s appointment is particularly important for Mr. Yu’s career and reflects Lei Jun knows what’s at stake for Xiaomi to mass produce cars by 2024. Xiaomi Auto needs Mr. Yu’s know-how in growing a car business and his resources that can become its allies in the already crowded industry.