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BUSINESS & TECH

Xiaomi Mute on Report of Near-Term IPO

By Teng Jing Xuan
News reports say that smartphone-maker Xiaomi Inc. is in talks with bankers about having an initial public offering as early as next year. Above, Xiaomi's first store in Spain opened in Madrid on Nov. 11. Photo: Visual China
News reports say that smartphone-maker Xiaomi Inc. is in talks with bankers about having an initial public offering as early as next year. Above, Xiaomi's first store in Spain opened in Madrid on Nov. 11. Photo: Visual China

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. declined Monday to comment on a report that it is planning an initial public offering (IPO) as early as next year.

If true, the report would represent a sharp acceleration of plans that had been publicly outlined by the phone-maker’s CEO only last year.

U.S. website The Information reported late last week that Xiaomi was in talks with bankers about a possible 2018 listing, citing sources familiar with the matter. Xiaomi is most likely to list in Hong Kong, but New York has not been ruled out, the report said.

A spokeswoman for Xiaomi declined to comment to Caixin about the report.

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi rose rapidly to become a leading producer of smartphones for the Chinese market, and branched out into household appliances like air purifiers and smart water filters. But the company has seen its market share fall in recent years in the face of stiff competition in the increasingly saturated Chinese market.

Following a retrenchment, Xiaomi’s business began to rebound this year, and the company once more became one of the world’s top five smartphone makers in the second quarter. Boosted by its popularity in India, the company saw its global market share nearly double between the last quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2017, according to figures from research firm Strategy Analytics.

The company also saw its smartphone shipments hit a quarterly record high in the second quarter of 2017, reaching 23.16 million smartphones, up 70% from the same period in 2016.

Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun told audiences at a 2016 Tianjin conference that he didn’t expect the smartphone-maker to go public until about 2025, saying its business model was “too complicated” and that “consumers need time to cultivate belief in our products,” the official China Daily newspaper reported at the time.

However, reports that the company’s valuation had jumped from $45 billion in 2016 to $69 billion in mid-2017 have sparked renewed speculation that Xiaomi could be considering an IPO much sooner.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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