SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio Inc launched its first mobile phone on Thursday, in hopes that better software and connectivity will boost the appeal of its EV cars amid a fierce price war in China.
Chief Executive William Li, a big driver of the project, unveiled the Nio Phone in the commercial capital of Shanghai, highlighting features such as the ability to control multiple cars with one device, or to unlock a car even when switched off.
Plans for the device had fuelled concern among some investors, however, as Nio doubled down on investment in self-developed technologies for key components such as chips and batteries, despite rising losses amid the pricing battle.
Nio posted a net loss of 6.12 billion yuan ($839.51 million) in the second quarter, versus a loss of 2.75 billion yuan in the corresponding period a year ago.
By the end of June, it held cash and cash equivalents of $4.3 billion. It received an investment of $1.1 billion in July from CYVN Holdings and offered a $1-billion convertible bond on Monday.
The company is showing signs of recovery from a sales slump in the first half of the year, as August deliveries rose 81% on the year, thanks to the popularity of its revamped ES6 SUV.
It sold 94,352 vehicles in the first eight months, an increase of 31.9% over the year-earlier period, outpacing overall growth of electric car sales in China.
(Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Clarence Fernandez)