Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp will produce electric vehicles by the end of next year, with an annual output of 30,000 units.
The company recently acquired leading bus manufacturer and supplier Zhuhai Guangtong Automobile Co.
"ZTE has already mastered key technologies in wireless charging, connected cars and autonomous driving. We are now mainly manufacturing electric buses and planning to launch the R&D and apply for a license for passenger vehicles next year," said a brand manager at ZTE Smart Auto, a subsidiary of ZTE, who declined to give his name.
He disclosed that the company is building a new manufacturing base in Zhuhai, also to be its global headquarters and R&D center, expecting to mass-produce the electric vehicles by the end of next year, adding that electric vehicles are a strategic project of ZTE.
In July, ZTE acquired Zhuhai Guangtong to enter the electric vehicle industry, concentrating on R&D, design and manufacturing of electric vehicles, and the application of connected cars, big data, autonomous driving and cloud centers, according to a statement issued by the company.
ZTE Smart Auto has already developed several vehicle models, including luxury coaches, double-decker buses, 12-meter tourist buses and city express buses, said the statement.
The products are sold to Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Israel, Thailand and Vietnam.
Furthermore, ZTE secured an order for 204 eight-meter-long electric buses and intelligent charging support service from Shenzhen Westernbus Co Ltd earlier this month.
The company said it will continue to expand its core technological advantages in vehicle manufacturing and wireless charging, and provide intelligent traffic solutions and services.
"ZTE has some advantages in the telecoms business, internet of things and smart city, and possesses government and enterprises customers' resources," said James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
Yan said these technology advantages and abundant customers' resources are beneficial for ZTE to branch into the electric vehicle field, adding he is optimistic about ZTE's development in electric vehicles in the future by virtue of strong policy support from the government.
The government expects that cumulative sales of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will reach 5 million units by 2020.
Last year, sales of new energy vehicles more than tripled to more than 331,000 units in China, including more than 247,000 pure electric cars and 83,600 plug-in hybrids, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Ma Si contributed to this story.