Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Corp. is considering a new round of funding that could produce a valuation of $40 billion to $50 billion, reports said. The valuation would establish Xiaomi as the world’s most valuable private technology company.
Talks regarding a new round of financing are still in their early stages, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg. Xiaomi earned a $10 billion valuation during its last funding round in August 2013. DST Systems Inc., which participated in the previous funding round, is said to be a potential investor, though other possible financiers have yet to be identified.
A $40 billion valuation would place Xiaomi ahead of Sony Corp. valued at around $21 billion, and Lenovo Group Ltd., valued at $16 billion. Xiaomi has yet to publicly comment on the situation.
Xiaomi sold its first smartphone in 2011 but already has established itself as one of the world’s top smartphone manufacturers. The Beijing company sold 17.3 million units in the third quarter, doubling its market share to 5.3 percent, IDC reported. Xiaomi briefly became the world’s third-ranked mobile phone vendor, only to drop to fourth Thursday after Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility was finalized.
Long criticized in the United States for its apparent mimicry of Apple’s business model, Xiaomi now outsells Apple Inc. in China, selling cheap phones with capabilities similar to those of its more expensive competitors, Forbes reported. The Chinese company’s flagship Mi 4 sells for slightly more than a third of the price of the iPhone 6, Bloomberg noted. However, Apple still trumps Xiaomi in global sales, having shipped 39.3 million units in the third quarter.
Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun’s personal wealth is estimated at $9.1 billion. Bolstered by entrance into new, international markets, Lei hopes to sell 100 million smartphones in 2014, up from 18.7 million in 2013.
As of now, about 95 percent of Xiaomi’s business is conducted in China. After recent forays into the Southeast Asian and Indian markets, analysts predict the company will focus on expansion to Brazil, Mexico and other South and Central American countries. Xiaomi is also expected to expand its business to include products such as tablets.