Huawei Consumer Tech Tzar Richard Yu Appointed Smart Car CEO

Huawei Technologies Co. has appointed Richard Yu, the outspoken leader of its consumer electronics business, chief executive officer of its smart car solutions unit, signaling the importance it places on future auto tech.

Yu, who was already director for car components, is expanding his responsibilities in Huawei’s auto segment while also departing a position he only recently gained as CEO of its cloud group. Zhang Pingan, an established cloud division executive, will take over that role, according to an internal memo that Bloomberg News has reviewed.

Huawei Consumer Tech Tzar Richard Yu Appointed Smart Car CEO

Huawei’s consumer tech unit was the company’s growth engine before U.S. sanctions hamstrung its ability to procure key components and effectively sidelined its smartphone business. Yu, 51, will not be relinquishing his responsibilities leading that division, however his focus going forward will likely be on recreating its success with the company’s smart car initiatives.

A Huawei spokesman declined to comment.

Recent months have seen a surge in interest and investment in electric vehicles and advanced technology to make them more connected and capable. Huawei rival Xiaomi Corp. has committed $10 billion to developing an EV business over the next decade while internet giant Baidu Inc. is part of a joint venture spending $7.7 billion on smart auto tech over five years. Huawei itself has budgeted $1 billion for the category this year.

It was only in early April that Yu was appointed CEO of Huawei’s cloud unit, whose ultimate leader was rotating chairman Eric Xu. Yu has been involved in Huawei’s car project for months and delivered a public speech at a flagship store in Shanghai on April 20, promoting EVs powered by Huawei’s technologies.

“Huawei’s smartphone business is badly hurt by four rounds of U.S. sanctions within two years. We decided to sell cars to offset the profit decline from smartphones,” Yu said during the event.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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