back to article 'Apple of China' Xiaomi: Yep, we HAVE just bagged $1.1 BEELLION

Top Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi has confirmed reports that it has raised $1.1bn to fund its plans for world domination. In a Facebook Post, president and co-founder Bin Lin said: We just completed the latest round of funding last week, raising US$1.1 billion at valuation of US$45 billion. Investors include All- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Duel of the year....

    Shall we organise a duelling match between the author of this piece and another Reg contributor who is adamant that Xiaomi is not the Apple of china since it would be comparing apples and millet* - and that - as we all know would be very wrong indeed.

    Of course the fruits and the cereals could join force and become the "musli" of the world.... who knows.

    (* xiaomi/小米 means millet in chinese)

  2. Simon Rockman

    No need for a duel

    I don't think they are the Apple of the east either.

    Just because the CEO wears Polo shirts isn't a reason to see them as the same.

    If Apple is Marks and Spencers, Xiaomi is Lidl

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: No need for a duel

      don't you mean Poundland?

  3. Busby

    Looking at the valuation and comparing it to Apple's you would think they have a chance of really closing that gap. Can't see them coming near it but if sales continue to soar as they expand they could be on their way to being a big player.

    In my opinion it's not Samsung or Apple that are worried it's Sony, HTC etc who you could see being overtaken by Xiaomi soon.

    1. Simon Rockman

      I really don't get Sony

      The brand is great, the products are great and from my experience working at Sony Ericsson the people are smart.

      And yet the devices don't sell. Perhaps there was more that could be done with using the Sony Pictures content, or Playstation gaming but rivals don't have that.

      Perhaps it was a mistake to ditch the Cybershot and Walkman names to go Xperia, but I still don't understand why it does so badly.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That valuation is a fantasy

      They can't keep their pricing/margins the same as now and justify a valuation of anywhere near $45 billion, not without expanding their market and risking their current success. This is no different than the silly valuations VCs put on overly hyped companies in the US.

      Not saying they can't ever become worth $45 billion or more, but they can't do it with their current razor thin margins on phones. They'll either need to increase their margins, risking losing sales to a hungrier competitor willing to accept less, or move beyond smartphones and start offering PCs, TVs, or other gear.

      I haven't heard anything about them moving to other markets, but with a $1 billion cash injection and easy loan terms in China they have the ability to do almost anything they want now. Still a risky investment though - just because they were successful in smart phones, doesn't mean they would be successful in PCs or TVs.

  4. Peter 48

    will be interesting

    Whilst they have had a good run in china it will be interesting to see how they will fare once they try to enter the bubbling cauldron of patents and lawsuits that is the western world. I doubt their razor thin margins will survive the onslaught of royalty payments they will have to face.

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: will be interesting

      Exactly, it is one thing to make a product for local Chinese consumption but entirely another to play in the World Market. It is not simply royalty payments they must fear, but the HUGE amount of patents they must fend off. AND those patents are wielded by the competition.

      1. Desidero

        Re: will be interesting

        Apple until lately has pretty well ignored the rest of the world and focused on the US market - are they a failure? Xiaomi is successfully playing Apple's game of quick sellout & shortages in India to foment demand, along with Singapore, Indonesia & other Asian markets. But they're only for sale on-line. That limits their reach (compared to carrier sales) but drastically lowers their overheads as well. The phones are great - my family has 2, with high satisfaction.

        If you can imagine the scoffing at Honda compacts in 1975 (we had quite a chuckle on my block when a friend bought one) as they successfully transitioned from motorcycles to cars with a nice boost from oil embargos...

        While Xiaomi makes feints of being an Apple, they might be more like Amazon - good quality online service cornering a product line (phones instead of books) with a reputation for quality that will translate into other lines going forward. In the regional market, they'll be picking off Nokia's once profitable feature phone market, upgrading it to smartphones.

        By the time they go to carriers for deals, they'll go in with a position of strength - similar to Apple when they approached phone companies with the successful iPod-like iPhone in 2007. How they move their brand & product line from there will be interesting to watch. Are they worth $45 billion? as a firm valuation, no - highly risky. But for a reasonable crap shoot where people throw away $12 billion for a funny company like Autonomy or where Snapchat is "valued" at $10 billion, yeah, their potential as a disruptive new kid is there. Rave on. By the time we know whether they were worth it, they'll either be a great success or a great failure, but the market will take the cash out in risk over the next year.

  5. William Donelson

    No discussion of profit here

    No discussion of profit here

    1. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

      Good phones, je suis un fanboi

      I am the happy owner of a REDMI 3s bought on line for 138 USD about 5 months ago.

      After testing multiple smart phones in the same price range and lower, I can only say the competition should watch out. This entry level, first generation phone displays none of the bad features typically found in other low-end, low-priced Android devices such as crap battery life, jerky displays, awful response times etc. You would be foolish to buy anything else in this price range. Performance is excellent and most of the native apps work fine. Battery life is good. The phone's Qualcomm snapdragon chip is the dog's gonads in terms of power efficiency and response. I can only imagine how good the higher end models are. The REDMI fills a niche and then some.

      But there are small warts that definitely need to be fixed before taking over the rest of the world:

      1) Western alphabet users will need a quick and painless way to remove Chinese language artifacts such as keyboards, download tools, etc. I know this is a Chinese phone, but non-chinese users will not enjoy finding and selecting google apps by visual icon identification. Many others will find life complicated when they accidentally switch to a Pidgin keyboard. This is not a cultural superiority thing, it is a GUI and international marketing issue. I just hope they address it soon.

      2) Tighten up the MUIU rom upgrade process even further. When Xiaomi users can upgrade their firmware as easily as an Apple User, the debate between iOs vs Android will soon become moot for price-conscious users.

      3) Segregate the apps store by languages (alphabet again).

      4) Stop sending me links to Chinese films, I would love to turn this feature off but my Mandarin is really deficient (see above). Not too keen on trying the cloud service either, for obvious reasons.

      But for those who have never tried a Xiaomi, I would highly suggest a test run, if you ever see one in the flesh. OnePlusOne is another brand worth looking at as well. Both of these manufacturers have brought quality components into the average users budget range.

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