Recently, news broke that Chen Yilun, the chief architect of intelligent driving of Huawei Smart Car BU, has resigned. According to industry insiders, Chen Yilun has joined Tsinghua University Intelligent Industry Research Institute as the chief expert in the direction of artificial intelligence robots. In addition to Chen Yilun, many executives of Huawei Smart Car BU have left before.
According to public information, Chen Yilun holds a master's degree in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. Before joining Huawei, Chen Yilun worked as a technical expert and project manager at Eaton, an intelligent power management company. In 2017, he joined DJI as the chief engineer. He joined Huawei in 2018 as the chief scientist of the autonomous driving department, responsible for perception technology.
Several executives resign from Huawei Smart Car BU
In 2019, in order to strengthen cooperation with automobile companies, Huawei established the Smart Vehicle Solutions Division, which is subordinate to the ICT Management Committee. In October 2020, Huawei released its smart car solution HI (Huawei Inside) to provide auto companies with autonomous driving solutions, and has established cooperative relationships with BAIC, Changan, and GAC.
In November of the same year, the Smart Car Solutions Division made another organizational adjustment, from the ICT Management Committee to the Consumer BG. Six months later, Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's Consumer BG, took over the organizational structure.
So far, Huawei BU has been divided into two main teams. One is led by the BU COO of Huawei Smart Car Solutions and Wang Jun, President of the Smart Driving Solutions Product Line. car. The other is a team led by Yu Chengdong. Huawei is deeply involved in the car manufacturing of car companies, such as Wenjie and Avita.
Perhaps it is precisely because of this structural adjustment that many executives of smart car BUs have left. At the beginning of 2021, He Liyang, the former vice president of Huawei's automotive business, resigned and joined Xiaopeng Motors as the vice president of overseas business. It is worth noting that He Liyang was revealed in May this year that he had resigned from Xiaopeng Motors.
In November 2021, Chen Qi, the former founder of Huawei's autonomous driving team and former head of the autonomous driving R&D department, resigned and joined Jikr Automobile. Almost at the same time, She Xiaoli, the former chief functional safety expert of Huawei's autonomous driving team, joined NIO as an algorithm. Research in-house experts.
At the beginning of this year, Su Qing, the former head of Huawei's autonomous driving product department, left. In April, Cai Jianyong, the former chief technology officer of Huawei, left to join CATL, responsible for the integration of CTC battery and chassis.
In addition, Zhang Xiaohong, the former project group director of Huawei's intelligent product department, joined NIO as a senior product manager. Jiang Jun, the former chief operating officer of Huawei's autonomous driving, and Peng Xueming, the former head of Huawei's fusion sensing, have left.
At present, Huawei Smart Car BU has 15 secondary departments, including Smart Driving Product Department, MDC Product Department, Smart Car Control Product Department, Smart Car Cloud Product Department, Smart Driving Product Department, Smart Cockpit Product Department, and Smart Car Solutions Department Wait.
Judging from the above-mentioned senior executives who have left, it has caused a lot of turmoil in the personnel of Huawei's smart car BU. In just three years since the establishment of the department, so many executives have left one after another.
Perhaps because of the frequent departure of executives, at the beginning of this year, some suspected Huawei smart car BU employees revealed on social media that they need to sign a competition agreement to leave, and the competition agreement lists such as Weilai, Ideal, Xiaomi, etc. Momenta, Geely, Didi and other more than 20 intelligent driving car companies, related companies and subsidiaries.
But no matter what, the departure of these executives will inevitably have a certain impact on the development of Huawei's smart car BU. As for the reason behind it, although Huawei has not responded, it may have something to do with Huawei's strategy for smart cars.
Huawei, which insists on not building cars
Since the establishment of Huawei Smart Car BU in 2019, its founder Ren Zhengfei has clearly stated in the organizational change document that Huawei does not build cars, focuses on ICT, and helps car companies build good cars. Therefore, Huawei's positioning of itself as a supplier to car companies has not changed until now.
Even Huawei has publicly stated in subsequent public occasions that Huawei does not build complete vehicles. Ren Zhengfei also said in a statement that "in the future, whoever proposes to build a car and interfere with the company can be transferred from his post and look for another position." You must know that Huawei has the ability to develop self-developed chips and self-developed operating systems. It can be said that it is natural to be a smart car, but it chooses to only become a supplier of car companies.
In a recent forum, Yu Chengdong publicly stated that automobiles are Huawei's only loss-making business. Huawei's investment in the automotive business is huge, reaching more than one billion US dollars every year. 7,000 people have been directly invested in the smart car BU, and more than 10,000 people have been indirectly invested.
Yu Chengdong said frankly, "The investment in parts is huge, it is definitely a business that burns money, and it is definitely a difficult business to do." And these remarks also revealed to a certain extent the reasons why Huawei does not build cars. An important reason is that A car cannot bring profits quickly to a business.
Since Huawei was sanctioned by the United States, the consumer business has plummeted. Although the investment in research and development remains high, if it directly builds cars, it will undoubtedly make the already not so wealthy company even worse. What's more, Huawei has not yet been listed, and where the funds come from is also a question.
Even an ideal company with relatively little investment took 6 years to achieve profitability, and Xiaomi invested 10 billion US dollars to build a car in the next 10 years. Under such circumstances, the most important thing for Huawei is to survive first, and providing core components and vehicle systems can create profits as soon as possible and help companies recover.
Of course, it is not ruled out that Huawei hopes to become a company like Bosch, become a key link behind car companies, and become the uncrowned king in the automotive industry.
However, this decision is not very friendly to many engineers and related personnel engaged in automobile research and development. At that time, when Huawei founded the smart car BU, it recruited many excellent domestic automobile-related talents, but after entering, it was found that Huawei did not intend to build a car. , The mismatch of talents may also be one of the reasons why the executives of this department frequently leave.
But another problem is that Huawei's current move to build cars is confusing. Of course, verbally, Huawei did say that it would not build cars, so it would learn from a core supplier like Bosch and silently provide technical support behind the OEM. Either build your own car generously and let the market see Huawei's achievements.
However, on the one hand, Huawei insists that it does not build cars, but on the other hand, it emphasizes that all core technologies of cooperative cars come from Huawei. This also makes some manufacturers reluctant to cooperate with Huawei. For example, SAIC said that it had given up cooperation with Huawei and was unwilling to lose its soul. Of course, for some small factories, Huawei's model can help them quickly start production, and manufacturers need to measure their own advantages and disadvantages.
With the further in-depth cooperation between Huawei and car manufacturers, especially under the leadership of Yu Chengdong, Huawei's share of cooperative vehicles is getting higher and higher. For example, the release of Wenjie M7 has been moved to Huawei's product launch conference. For a while, I thought it was Huawei built a car itself. This also makes people wonder, does Huawei really not build cars?
write at the end
At present, Huawei's position in smart cars is still a bit strange. After all, there is no car manufacturer with such a high profile as Huawei, but they insist that they do not build cars. Perhaps it is precisely because of this twisted attitude that many people who hope to build a complete vehicle at Huawei have no choice but to leave.
On the other hand, Huawei's automotive department is currently the only one that loses money. If it directly builds cars, it can be predicted that the loss will be higher. Today's choice is understandable. There is no need to over-interpret those Huawei smart car BU executives who have left. At least these talents continue to contribute to the domestic new energy vehicle industry.