Li Auto Expands Chip Development Efforts, Seeks Talent In Singapore


Li Auto, a prominent electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer in China, is ramping up its efforts to develop in-house automotive chips by venturing abroad to recruit talent. The company, which is highly popular among young Chinese families, has recently posted recruitment notices on LinkedIn, seeking to fill five positions in Singapore specifically dedicated to the development of silicon carbide power modules. These modules utilize SiC semiconductors for switching purposes.

Key Takeaway

Li Auto is actively expanding its chip development capabilities by hiring talent in Singapore. The company aims to develop silicon carbide power modules, a key component in electric vehicles, in-house.

Focusing on Building In-House Expertise

Li Auto is allocating resources to build a dedicated team responsible for automotive chip development. The current recruitment drive in Singapore is part of that initiative. The positions include a general manager who will establish Li Auto’s research and development center in Singapore and oversee the formulation of technology and product roadmaps for power semiconductors.

While the Singapore recruitment effort only represents a small fraction of Li Auto’s reported 160-member automotive chip team, it highlights the company’s determination to strengthen its in-house capabilities. The head of Li Auto’s semiconductor division is Yan Xie, the chief technology officer, who brings extensive software engineering experience from renowned Chinese tech giants like Huawei and Alibaba.

Li Auto’s Standout Performance in EV Market

In China’s highly competitive EV market, Li Auto has stood out with impressive sales figures. In the third quarter, the Beijing-based automaker shipped over 100,000 vehicles, surpassing Xpeng’s record of 40,000 units during the same period. (Nio has not yet disclosed its Q3 results, but in Q2, it delivered approximately 23,500 vehicles.)

As disruptions in global manufacturing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the importance of supply chain stability, Li Auto, along with other Chinese EV manufacturers, recognizes the significance of developing their own automotive chips. These chips are crucial for motor control and advanced assisted driving, which have become major selling points for EVs in the domestic market.

Reducing Dependence and Mitigating Risks

Furthermore, Chinese EV manufacturers are increasingly concerned about potential chip supply chain disruptions due to the worsening relationship between China and the US. The recent restriction imposed by the Biden administration on Nvidia’s high-end AI chips to China has already had a significant impact on the availability of chips for large language models.

While China has its own solutions for auto-grade chips, Li Auto, along with Xpeng and Nio, has committed investments to develop its own chips, following the path of their American counterpart, Tesla. As part of this strategy, Nio released its first proprietary system-on-a-chip (SoC) for lidar in September. Xpeng’s former head of autonomous vehicles, Xinzhou Wu, who has recently joined Nvidia, hinted at the possibility of Xpeng also delving into AV chip development.

By expanding its chip development capabilities and recruiting talent internationally, Li Auto aims to reduce dependence on external suppliers, mitigate potential risks, and chart its own course in the highly competitive EV market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *