Soon after Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced impressive figures for the first half of the year, a report says that the company will be closing a round of funding at the end of this month that values it at $9 billion.
According to 21st Century Business Herald, if the funding goes through successfully, Xiaomi will become the fourth-largest Internet company ranking behind e-commerce giant Alibaba, service portal provider Tencent and search giant Baidu — a jaw-dropping achievement from a company that only released its first device as recently as 2011. Xiaomi will also become the second-largest Chinese hardware manufacturer after Lenovo.
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This round of funding would be Xiaomi’s fourth to date, but the report provides no details of the size of the investment nor the identity of the investors.
Xiaomi booked RMB13.27 billion ($2.15 billion) in revenue for the first six months of this year, exceeding the amount it recorded for the whole of last year, which stood at RMB12.6 billion. The 7.03 million devices sold in the first six months this year was also just shy of the 7.19 million units that Xiaomi sold during the whole of 2012.
The company’s latest figures also show that it has chalked up 14.22 million users of its handsets in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan — after launching its mobile phones in Hong Kong and Taiwan in April.
About a year ago, Xiaomi confirmed that it closed its third round of funding, worth $216 million, said to have valued the company at $4 billion. The company was valued at $1 billion in December 2011 when it secured $90 million in a series B round led by Qiming, IDG, Qualcomm, MorningSide and Temasek. MorningSide, Qiming and IDG also led its $41 million series A investment in 2010.
Xiaomi has been garnering success in mainland China by inspiring the loyalty of many consumers. Its competitively priced phones are sold in batches that, when released in phases, regularly sell out fast, often within half an hour.
The 21st Century Business Herald report notes that production capacity is Xiaomi’s limiting factor, as well as warehousing and logistics issues. It also says that besides rapid smartphone sales, Xiaomi’s strength comes from its own highly customizable Android-based MIUI firmware.
Xiaomi’s diversification may also help to attract investors. Late last year, the company announced the Xiaomi Box, an Android-based set-top box, which supports photo and video beaming to the TV for Xiaomi phones and runs Android games. It has been speculated to launch a 47-inch TV next month too.
We have reached out to Xiaomi for comment and will update with any response provided.