Xiaomi Corp (小米), the three-year-old smartphone maker that overtook Apple Inc’s iPhone in China, has a valuation of US$10 billion after completing its latest round of funding, a board member said.
Hans Tung (童士豪), a director of Xiaomi, confirmed the valuation in an e-mail yesterday, declining to provide further details of the fundraising. Founder and CEO Lei Jun (雷軍) confirmed the estimate for the closely held company earlier yesterday on his verified account on Sina Corp’s (新浪) Weibo, a microblogging site.
Xiaomi said it had a valuation of US$4 billion in June last year after raising US$216 million, bolstering a company backed by Temasek Holdings Pte and Tung’s Qiming Venture Partners (啟明創投). Since then it has announced plans to more than double handset sales to 15 million this year, struck a deal to supply devices to China Mobile Ltd (中國移動) and risen to sixth in the nation’s smartphone market, one place ahead of Apple.
“It’s surprising to see such a small company reach such a high valuation of US$10 billion,” Nicole Peng, the Shanghai-based China research director for Canalys, said in a phone interview yesterday.
Xiaomi has the potential to grow and challenge companies including Lenovo Group (聯想) and Huawei Technologies Co (華為), she said.
A US$10 billion valuation on Xiaomi compares with a market value of US$10 billion for Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker, and about US$20 billion for Sony Corp.
Xiaomi has won sales with cheaper handsets as it builds its brand. Apple sells the iPhone 5 on its China Web site from 5,288 yuan (US$864). Xiaomi’s most expensive handset is 1,699 yuan.
Xiaomi rose to sixth in the second quarter from eighth a year earlier, Canalys said on Aug. 9.
Starting this month, Xiaomi began sales of its first device for China Mobile, the world’s largest phone company with 745 million subscribers at the end of last month. The handset was priced at 799 yuan.