Lizhi Inc. (Nasdaq: LIZI) is riding the wave of the EV market growth, expanding its partnership with XPeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV) to bring a Clubhouse-like app inside its cars.
In fact, Lizhi and XPeng shook hands on in-car audio collaboration as early as December. In its announcement at the time, the Chinese interactive podcast platform said the deal was a means of diversification for the company.
Under the deal with XPeng, Lizhi gets access to the automaker’s “growing customer base comprised of tech-savvy middle-class consumers” whom it hopes to attract to its “premium content offerings and AI-empowered content discovery and recommendation system.”
Jinnan (Marco) Lai, the founder and chief executive officer, said, “Looking forward, our in-car audio initiatives will be important part of our strategic effort to diversify our business model to gain traction with a wider user base.”
And now, Lizhi has taken the next step, bringing its Clubhouse-like livestream podcast platform to XPeng’s “in-car intelligent operating system.”
Gizmochina called the move a step in the race “for the ultimate electric car” and said the new feature will be attractive to XPeng potential buyers.
For Lizhi, the move is also a win against social app giant ByteDance, which is developing its own Clubhouse-like app after the trendy chat room platform from Silicon Valley made Beijing’s censored list. While Lizhi is one of China’s biggest online user-generated content (UGC) audio communities, also operating Tiya as its international version, competition will be tough against the owner of TikTok.
The XPeng partnership is just one of many for Lizhi. In March, Lizhi announced it will provide its in-car audio solutions to ECARX and for ENOVATE's new ME5 vehicle.
Last month, Lizhi released better-than-expected Q4 results, booking $64.4 million in revenue on adjusted earnings of 2 cents. Average monthly active users hit 58.4 million compared with 51.9 million in Q4 2019.
Recently, Citron Research set a $30-per share 12-month price target for LIZI. Analysts noted Lizhi’s diversification into dating apps, among other things, as the catalyst for growth. Citron also compared Lizhi to Clubhouse and Roblox.
On Wednesday, LIZI shares closed at $8.25 per share, down nearly 8%.
In January, Lizhi celebrated its IPO anniversary. The stock has seen a tumultuous run, dropping as low as $1.95 per share in October 2020 and hitting a high of $16.75 in February 2021.