Xiaomi IPO Will Be Huge

On Thursday, Xiaomi filed to list on Hong Kong's stock exchange, in a much-talked about initial public offering (IPO).

As Reuters reports, the listing could value Xiaomi at $100 billion, nearly five times what fellow Chinese tech firm Alibaba raised in 2014. Xiaomi's decision, four years after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chose NY, signals a new phase for the city's ambitions to rival the US market.

It's a big win for Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., whose officials spent years pushing to scrap a ban on weighted-voting rights, which give founders and executives control even with minority ownership. In the first financial report, the company states a huge loss of $6.9 billion. In 2017, it recorded $18 billion (114 billion yuan) in revenue - a 67 percent increase in sales compared to the year before.

The company said 28 percent of its revenue came from global operations in 2017, compared to 13.4 percent in 2016 and 6.1 percent in 2015.

Beijing-based Xiaomi is the world's fourth biggest smartphone maker by shipment volume, according to International Data Corp. It has enjoyed particularly strong growth in India, where it has overtaken Samsung as the biggest selling smartphone maker. At its height, it raised $1.1 billion in venture capital and became the world's most valuable startup.

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Lei scaled back worldwide operations and instead focused on India, where it's now the top seller alongside Samsung. The wide spectrum of products includes air purifiers, rice cooker, wearables, electric scooter, Mi TV, Mi Drone and etc. Xiaomi said it registered a revenue of 23.5 billion yuan previous year from its ecosystem. The exclusive tie-ups with online stores held Xiaomi back from reaching many less tech-savvy customers in China.

"The U.S. market is very important to us but we are very, very carefully building our resources to serve the U.S. consumer", Xiaomi's head of worldwide business, Wang Xiang, told CNBC in February. Lei has pledged to reclaim the top spot in China in the next 10 quarters, but it won't be easy in a declining smartphone market.

The company is also facing greater competition in emerging markets like India and Indonesia, where competitors Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are expanding.

The company bounced back through its retail strategy.


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