Geely acquires Chinese smartphone maker Meizu –

In January, it was reported that Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) was in talks to buy Chinese smartphone maker Meizu. Now, that deal has been completed, with ZGH subsidiary Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology – a venture launched last September by Geely founder Li Shufu to make premium smartphones and other connected devices – inking a deal to purchase a 79.09% stake in Meizu, the South China Morning Post reports.

According to a document released by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) last week, Xingji Shidai bought its stake from Meizu founder Huang Xiuzhang – whose current 9.8% stake is down from 49% – and Taobao China Software, a unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba, which sold its entire 27% stake in the phone maker. The document did not disclose the value of the deal.

Control of Meizu, an Alibaba Group Holding-backed smartphone maker, will allow Geely to expand its footprint in mobile devices as well as accelerate the development of services linking up vehicles and communication.

Founded in 2003, Meizu is a mid-tier smartphone manufacturer located in Zuhai. The company, which started by making portable music players before branching into smartphones, is known as a smaller version of Xiaomi, which is also entering into electric vehicle manufacturing. At its peak, Meizu sold over 20 million of its smartphones, which are known for their affordability and functionality, but sales in recent times have reportedly dropped to around a million units.

Xinji Shidai has yet to launch any smartphones, but its first model is expected next year, and this will be given as a gift to buyers of Geely’s new high-end sports car, Chinese tech media outlet Huxiu indicated.

Geely’s acquisition comes amid competition among tech firms and carmakers alike looking to pitch cars as another connected gadget. The company is also building a network of satellites to provide highly precise GPS navigation data to guide autonomous vehicles.

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