Head of XPeng's autonomous driving project departs for Nvidia

Amanda Liang, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: XPeng

Recently, there were rumors that Wu Xinzhou, head of Autonomous Driving Center at XPeng Motors, would be leaving the company and joining Nvidia in the United States. This news caused a sensation in both the Chinese autonomous driving industry and the semiconductor industry. Subsequently, XPeng chairman, He Xiaopeng, and Wu Xinzhou himself confirmed the news.

Wu Xinzhou expressed his gratitude, reluctance, and best wishes for XPeng Motors in a post on Weibo. Chairman He Xiaopeng revealed that Wu Xinzhou would become a top-level executive of a globally renowned company and continue to collaborate closely with XPeng in various areas, including chip technology.

According to sources at Nvidia, Wu is likely to join the company in the next one to two months. It is considered a semi-public secret in the industry. After joining the GPU giant, Wu Xinzhou will serve as a global vice president. Nvidia neither confirmed nor denied this news.

Due to their business cooperation, Wu had frequent exchanges with Nvidia CEO, Jensen Huang. XPeng Motors' North American employees also mentioned that Wu Xinzhou often disclosed some meeting contents with Huang during internal meetings.

On the evening of August 2nd, Wu announced his departure on social media. Following this, XPeng CEO He Xiaopeng stated that due to family and various reasons, Wu expressed his intention to return to the United States in the second half of 2022.

To prepare for this departure, XPeng has already confirmed a new work model and optimized its structure and organization within the past 10 months. Li Liyun, the head of XNGP, will take over XPeng's autonomous driving team.

Wu, a naturalized American citizen of Chinese descent, joined XPeng in March 2019 and was responsible for the overall management of their autonomous driving business and team.

Over the past five years, Wu Xinzhou has contributed significantly to XPeng' intelligent development. The reasons for his departure are speculated to extend beyond family matters. Among the "various factors" mentioned by He Xiaopeng, his American citizenship may have caused pressure under the talent ban imposed by the Biden Administration, resulting in many American employees in the Chinese semiconductor field being asked to return to the United States since the introduction of the new ban in October 2022.

For Nvidia having someone like Wu Xinzhou, with extensive experience in managing autonomous driving business in the automotive industry, is undoubtedly a valuable asset for its own autonomous driving business. According to Chinese media data, in 2022, Nvidia ranked first globally in terms of high computational power autonomous driving SoC shipments, with an 82.5% market share. However, the revenue from the automotive business still accounts for a relatively limited proportion of Nvidia's total revenue.