Li Auto, an electric vehicle maker beloved by young Chinese families, is stepping up efforts to make auto chips in-house and has gone overseas to scout for talent for the course.
The eight-year-old company is currently recruiting for five positions in Singapore to develop power modules made from silicon carbide (SiC), an electrical component that uses SiC semiconductors in switching, according to LinkedIn job postings from the company published yesterday.
The staffing includes the hiring of a general manager, who will be responsible for establishing Li Auto’s R&D center in the city-state and formulating the technology and product roadmaps of power semiconductors for the business.
The Singapore hiring represents only a small fraction of the team of about 160 people Li Auto has assembled to work on auto chips, according to Chinese technology news blog LatePost. Responsible for the company’s semiconductor business would be its chief technology officer Yan Xie, whose background is primarily in software engineering at Chinese giants like Huawei and Alibaba.
TechCrunch has contacted Li Auto for comment on the story.
Led by Internet entrepreneurs, Li Auto, Nio and
Among them, Li Auto stood out with its sales figures. In the third quarter, the Beijing-based automaker shipped more than 100,000 vehicles, more than double Xpeng’s record of 40,000 during the same period. (Nio did not announce its third-quarter results, but in the second quarter it delivered about 23,500 vehicles.)
Manufacturing disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of supply chain stability for automakers around the world, and this is true for Chinese electric vehicle companies that are expanding. rely on both power semiconductors for motor control and inference chips for advanced assisted driving, which has become a major issue. selling point to national consumers.
These companies are also increasingly wary of potential chip-related sanctions as relations between China and the United States continue to deteriorate. The vast language model space has already been hit hard after the Biden administration restricted Nvidia’s high-end AI chips to China.
While China has its own answers to Nvidia’s automotive chips, such as Black Sesame and Horizon Robotics, Li Auto, Xpeng and Nio have all made investments in manufacturing their own chips, following in the footsteps of their American counterpart Tesla.
In September, for example, Nio launched its first proprietary system-on-a-chip (SoC) for lidar. In 2021, Xpeng’s then-head of autonomous vehicles, Xinzhou Wu, hinted that the company might consider working on AV chips. Wu, a Qualcomm veteran, recently left Xpeng for a senior role at Nvidia, a move that was seen as an attempt by the semiconductor giant to catch up in the automotive chipmaking game.