Chinese carmaker Gili has launched a high-end smartphone business

Logo of Chinese car manufacturer Gili Auto.

Zhang Peng | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese carmaker Jelly Holding is jumping into the smartphone business after its founder set up a new company.

According to Gili, Eric Lee has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hubei Jinji Shidai Technology Co., Ltd., Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, to make mobile phones.

The company will be headquartered in Wuhan and will “focus on integrating global technology and resources to develop premium smart devices, including smart phones, to reach global consumers,” Gilly said in a press release.

Gilly’s entry into the smartphone highlights the drive to enter new areas of the automaker that has led the company to move to satellite and flying vehicles.

China’s smartphone shipments fell 17% in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm Canalis. Worldwide, shipments grew by more than 13%, IDC data shows.

As Huawei’s market share dwindled due to U.S. sanctions, Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo sought to find customers.

Gili is entering a thriving market and could face the likes of Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi in the premium smartphone category.

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The company did not elaborate on the branding of the phone or when it could be launched but said the smartphones complement its automobile business.

Lee said mobile phones and devices could “serve as a path to greater autonomous applications.”

“There is a close connection of technology between intelligent vehicle cockpit and smartphone software technology. The major trends in the near future are to create user ecosystems across borders and provide users with a more convenient, smart and seamlessly connected multi-screen experience,” he added.

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