Chinese smart-phone giant Xiaomi Corporation announced this week it plans to acquire local 3D imaging start-up Deepmotion in a deal worth over US$77m, as it looks to expand into the autonomous driving and connected technology sector.

Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun is looking to diversify the company’s business and is said to have pledged to invest US$10bn to establish itself in the smart electric vehicle (EV) market.

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Cash-rich Xiaomi reported a 64% surge in revenues in the second quarter of 2021 to CNY87.8bn (US$13.5bn), helped by strong demand growth in India.

Xiaomi president Wang Xiang confirmed on Wednesday his company is mainly interested in Deepmotion’s autonomous driving and driver assist software development division, as it looks to develop Level 4 self-driving capabilities. He said in a statement “through this acquisition, we hope to shorten the time to market for our products. We want to speed up our autonomous driving research and development.”

Xiaomi is looking to take on a number of Chinese technology giants, including Huawei Technologies Company and Baidu Inc, which have been investing in self-driving technology development for several years.

The company is looking to hire an initial 500 engineers to drive forward its EV project and has held talks with a number of automakers and local governments on establishing potential partnerships.

Last week it was reported to have held talks to acquire a stake in China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group, a subsidiary of property company China Evergrande Group, as well as with Black Sesame Technologies – a startup that develops artificial intelligence chips and systems for vehicles.