‘Significant growth’ forecast for Xiaomi

BIG GAINS::The Chinese smartphone manufacturer is expected to continue its rise as it looks to overseas markets and the 4G market to drive growth next year

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - Page 14

Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi Corp (小米) is expected to achieve “significant growth” in shipments next year as the company continues to increase its brand awareness among consumers, a local contract maker said yesterday.

“We have observed that Xiaomi’s unique business-to-consumer model has helped it increase its shipments and raise brand awareness through the Internet,” Richard Lee (李詩欽), chairman of Inventec Corp (英業達), told reporters on the sidelines of a forum.

Inventec’s handset subsidiary Inventec Appliance Corp (英華達) assembles phones for Xiaomi. FIH Mobile Ltd (富智康), a handset manufacturing arm of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), also makes phones for the company on a contract basis.

“Xiaomi’s business strategy has turned out to be successful, giving Inventec’s sales and shipments a boost over the past few years as well,” Lee said.

Since 2009, Inventec Appliance has been manufacturing devices including smartphones, global positioning systems, cash registers, calculators and wearable devices that can be connected to the Internet through bluetooth or Wi-Fi technologies, Lee said.

Lee said he remains optimistic about the overall PC market next year because worldwide shipments of smartphones and tablets are forecast to continue growing, offsetting the drop in shipments of desktops and laptops.

Fubon Securities Co (富邦證券) forecast Inventec Appliance would ship a total of 5.5 million to 6 million units of Xiaomi smartphones this year, according to the brokerage’s report released on Nov 7.

Total shipments of Xiaomi’s smartphones are estimated to grow 177 percent to 20 million units this year from 7.2 million units last year, Fubon analyst Arthur Liao (廖顯毅) said.

Earlier this month, Xiaomi told a press conference in Taipei that it expects to double its worldwide shipments next year from this year’s 19 million units as the company looks to overseas markets and domestic customers turning to China’s fourth-generation (4G) telecommunication service as new sales drivers.

On Nov 12, Inventec Appliance chief executive officer David Ho (何代水) told an investors’ conference that the firm had set a goal of shipping 30 million units of mobile device in the global market this year, with smartphones accounting for half of that figure.

The figure is estimated to grow 33 percent to 40 million units next year, driven by increased orders from new clients including ZTE Corp (中興), Huawei (華為) and Coolpad (酷派), he added.