Xiaomi’s market value hits $45 billion, says founder Lei Jun

World Today

Lei Jun, Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Technology and Chairman of Kingsoft Corp., delivers a speech at a forum in Chengdu city, southwest China’s Sichuan province, 31 October 2014. Image by CFP

The market value of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Inc. is estimated at $45 billion after the company completed its latest round of fundraising last week, company founder and CEO Lei Jun said Monday.

Last week was the fifth round of financing by the company and raised $1.1 billion, Lei said in a blog post on Sina Weibo, a popular microblog in China.

Investors in this round of financing included large businesses such as DST, GIC, Hopu Investment, and Yunfeng Capital. The results have demonstrated investors’ recognition of Xiaomi’s achievements after more than four years of ventures and will open a new chapter for the company’s development, Lei said.

The CEO also said Xiaomi will unveil a new heavyweight flagship product in January, without disclosing more details. Media has reported the company is likely to launch Xiaomi 5, a new generation smartphone.

Global market researcher International Data Corporation said in its latest report that Xiaomi jumped onto the list of top five manufacturers for the first time took the third-highest ranking due to its focus on China and adjacent markets, which resulted in year-on-year growth hitting triple digits.

In the third quarter of this year, Xiaomi’s global market share stood at 5.3 percent, following Samsung’s 23.8 percent and Apple’s 12 percent, according to International Data Corporation.

Data showed Xiaomi shipped 18 million smartphones in the third quarter, an increase of 18 percent from the previous quarter. For the first nine months, the company shipped a total of 44 million units.

Xiaomi, a name that means “millet” in Chinese, was founded in April 2010 by Lei and his friends in Zhongguancun, Beijing’s technology hub, which has been called China’s Silicon Valley. Xiaomi’s first smartphone debuted on Aug. 16, 2011.

Lei has often been compared to Apple and some have dubbed him ‘China’s Steve Jobs’. However Lei said in an interview with Business Insider, “Xiaomi selling mobile phones is like Amazon selling Kindles, so people can understand what kind of company Xiaomi is.”

Xiaomi timeline:

    • In April, 2010. Xiaomi was co-founded by eight partners.
    • On Aug. 16, 2010, Xiaomi officially launched its first Android-based firmware MIUI.
    • In August 2011, the Xiaomi Mi1 smartphone was announced. It was shipped with Xiaomi’s MIUI firmware which is based on Android and resembles Samsung’s TouchWiz and Apple’s iOS.
    • In August 2012, Xiaomi announced the Xiaomi Mi2 smartphone.
    • On Sep. 3 2013, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun officially announced plans to launch an Android-based 3D-capable Smart TV.
    • On Sep.24 2013, Xiaomi said the company had sold over 10 million Mi2 devices over the preceding 11 months.
    • In September 2013, Xiaomi announced its Mi3 phone.
    • On 25 September 2013, Xiaomi announced plans to open its first ever retail store in Beijing.
    • By October 2013, Xiaomi was reported as the fifth most-used smartphone brand in China.
    • In first half of 2014, Xiaomi sold 26.1 million smartphones.
    • In 2014, Xiaomi announced its international expansion outside of China with their first stop in Singapore.
    • On Mar. 7  2014, Xiaomi Mi3 batches sold out within 2 minutes of the opening day sale in Singapore. Following Singapore, the company has already landed in Malaysia, Philippines and India, and also has plans to enter Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico in the following months.
    • On Mar. 17  2014, Lei Jun announced the Red Mi Note by Xiaomi.
    • In April 2014, Xiaomi purchased a new domain, mi.com, for a record $3.6 million. Mi.com became the most expensive domain name ever bought in China as confirmed by a senior executive of Xiaomi. Mi.com replaces xiaomi.com as the official website domain of Xiaomi.
    • In 2014 second Quarter, Xiaomi shipped 15 million devices or 14 percent of China’s market share and beat Samsung which only shipped a slight more than 13 million.
    • In November 2014, Xiaomi said it will invest $1 billion in television content building.
    • In December 2014, Xiaomi completed its latest round of equity financing led by Hong Kong-based technology fund All-Stars Investment Limited, raising over $1 billion in proceeds with a valuation of more than $45 billion, making it one of the most valuable private technology companies in the world.

Story was compiled with information from Xinhua News. Timeline compiled with information from Xiaomi, Endgadget, CSDN, AnandTech, Techinasia.com, Digitimes.com, GSM INSIDER, China.org.cn, and Investing.com.