Tencent-backed startup attracts big names in auto industry
Harmony Futeng, a company backed by Tencent, said that Carsten Breitfeld will take the role as chief executive officer and Daniel Kirchert as chief operating officer of its ' Internet Smart Electric Car' enterprise.
Breitfeld, once head of BMW's i8 plug-in hybrid sports car program, is a worldwide leading expert in the field of R&D for electric cars. He has spent 20 years working at BMW, having held various senior positions in the luxury car company such as in chassis development, powertrain development and product strategy.
Kirchert is famous in China's premium car segment. Before joining Harmony Futeng Internet and Intelligent Electric Vehicle Company, the fluent Mandarin speaker was the head of Infiniti's China operations and president of Dongfeng Infiniti, the joint-venture between Infiniti and Dongfeng Auto.
"It was a tough decision but a simple reason: I want to have an opportunity to start a company, and I think that has a lot to do with my personality," said Kirchert. Harmony Futeng is an innovative investment platform co-founded by China Harmony New Energy Auto Holdings Limited, Hon Hai Precision Industry and Tencent Holdings.
The 'Internet Smart Electric Car' is the platform's core strategic program and an independent enterprise, said Harmony Futeng in a statement.
It aims to develop nextgeneration individual mobility solutions, creating a premium brand with Chinese roots and a global reach that offers customers a smart, pleasant, and eco-friendly driving experience, said the statement.
Tencent, China's leading integrated Internet service provider which owns the most patents in China's Internet industry, will provide the Internet platform and other innovative solutions needed for the Internet Smart Electric Car program. Another two shareholders of Harmony Futeng are Hon Hai, the world's largest electronics device manufacturer with more than one million workers worldwide, and Harmony Auto, a leading luxury auto dealer in China.