SHANGHAI (Reuters) -A venture run by the founder of Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding plans to acquire an 79% stake in Chinese smartphone maker Meizu, a statement published by China‘s anti-monopoly regulator showed on Monday.
Xingji Shidai and Meizu both said in similar statements that they had signed a strategic investment agreement but the deal was still being reviewed by regulators and details were still being negotiated.
Geely said in a statement to a Reuters query about the deal that there was a “close connection in technologies” between vehicle cockpits and smartphone software.
Xingji Shidai was launched by Geely’s chairman Eric Li last year as part of a push into premium smartphones, making the Volvo owner the first established carmaker to enter the highly competitive sector. Li owns a 55% stake in Xingji Shidai.
Reuters reported in September that the venture aims to release its first smartphone by 2023 and sell 3 million units in its first year, citing an internal memo.
Established in 2003, Meizu was once one of China’s best-known smartphone brands but it has in recent years lost ground to local rivals like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by David Evans and Jan Harvey)