Chinese EV startup Li Auto is on the hunt for chip talent in Singapore

Li Auto, an electric vehicle maker adored by young Chinese families, has ramped up its efforts to produce in-house automotive chips and gone abroad to find talent for the course.

The eight-year-old company is now hiring five positions in Singapore to make silicon carbide (SiC) power modules, an electrical component that uses SiC semiconductors for switching, according to the company’s LinkedIn recruitment notices which was posted yesterday.

The headcount includes the hiring of a general manager, who will be responsible for building Li Auto’s R&D center in the city-state and creating tech and product roadmaps in power semiconductors for the company.

The Singapore recruit is only a small part of a reported group of about 160 assembled by Li Auto to work on automotive chips, according to a Chinese tech news blog. LatePost. Heading the company’s semiconductor effort is reportedly its chief technology officer Yan Xiewhose background is mainly in software engineering at Chinese giants such as Huawei and Alibaba.

TechCrunch has reached out to Li Auto for comment on the story.

Led by internet entrepreneurs, Li Auto, Nio and Xpeng form a triumvirate of young EV upstarts in China that have defied expectations that their limited manufacturing experience would prevent them from gaining significant ground. in the competitive, deeply entrenched auto market.

Among them, Li Auto stands out with its sales figures. In the third quarter, the Beijing-based automaker shipped more than 100,000 vehiclesmore than double Xpeng’s record of 40,000 at the same time. (Nio did not announce Q3 results, however in q2it delivered almost 23,500 cars.)

Manufacturing disruptions during the COVID-19 era have highlighted the importance of supply chain stability to automakers around the world, and this is true for Chinese EV companies that rely on the same semiconductors in electricity for motor control and inference chips for advanced assisted driving, which has become a major selling point for domestic consumers.

These companies are also increasingly wary of potential chip sanctions as relations between China and the US continue to deteriorate. The big language modeling space has already taken a big hit after the Biden administration clamped down on Nvidia’s high-end AI chips in China.

While China has its own homegrown answers to Nvidia’s auto-grade chips, such as Black Sesame and Horizon Robotics, Li Auto, Xpeng and Nio have all committed to investing in making their own chips, following the footsteps of their American counterpart Tesla.

In September, for example, Nio released the first proprietary system-on-a-chip (SoC) for lidar. Back in 2021, Xpeng was the head of autonomous cars Xinzhou Wu felt that the company might consider working on AV chips. Wu, a Qualcomm veteran, recently left Xpeng for a senior position at Nvidia, a move seen as the semiconductor giant’s attempt to catch up in the auto chip manufacturing game.

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