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SHANGHAI: A venture run by the founder of Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding plans to acquire an 79% stake in Chinese smartphone maker Meizu, a statement published by China’s anti-monopoly regulator showed on Monday.

The State Administration of Market Regulation said that Hubei Xingji Shidai Technology Co Ltd had agreed to purchase the stake from two of Meizu’s shareholders. It did not give a value for the deal.

Xingji Shidai said it had signed a strategic investment agreement with Meizu but the deal was still being reviewed by regulators and details were still being negotiated. “We believe Meizu will take this strategic investment as a great opportunity to make a better future,” it said.

Geely said in a statement to a Reuters query about the deal that there was a “close connection in technologies” between vehicle cockpits and smartphone software. Meizu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China’s smartphone makers chip away at Samsung, Apple’s Russian market share

Xingji Shidai was launched by Geely’s chairman Eric Li last year as part of a push into premium smartphones, making the Volvo-owner the first established carmaker to enter the highly competitive sector. Li owns a 55% stake in Xingji Shidai.

Reuters reported in September that the venture aims to release its first smartphone by 2023 and sell 3 million units in its first year, citing an internal memo.

The memo also said that the project will be funded with a 10 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) investment and is also targeting revenue of 10 billion yuan in its first year.

Established in 2003, Meizu was once one of China’s most well-know smartphone brands but has in recent years lost ground to the local rivals like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.

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