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The impressive valuation comes as Xiaomi has been on a tear. Last month, it announced revenue of $2.15 billion with more than 7 million handsets sold during the first half of 2013. Considering that Xiaomi’s 2012 revenue was $2.06 billion, that’s some solid growth. With a next-generation handset expected to arrive this fall, the firm’s device sales should continue to grow in the second half of 2013.
Xiaomi is often described as the Apple of China because Lei’s charismatic personality resembles Steve Jobs and it takes a similar vertical approach to its product design. However, Lei’s entrepreneurial strengths have been largely in ecommerce, so the company would prefer to be compared to Amazon. Xiaomi’s hardware margins definitely run closer to those of Amazon, as it prefers to sell devices at cost or a loss with plans to make its money off transactions, content and improved scale.
That approach has worked for Xiaomi so far. After the company announced its most affordable smartphone yet at the end of July, it quickly attracted over 7 million reservations and sold out its first batch of 100,000 units in just 90 seconds.
According to recent market figures from Canalys, Xiaomi has risen to become the sixth place smartphone vendor in China with 5 percent market share. Notably, those estimates suggest Xiaomi bested Apple in the country during the second quarter.
A $10 billion valuation is still relatively small when compared to Xiaomi’s competitors, which are worth hundreds of billions. However, that just goes to show how much of an upstart the firm is. Xiaomi may be young, but it’s hungry. It’s far from saturated in the Chinese market, and it has only just begun expanding abroad. Pretty soon, we’ll have to start comparing Lei Jun to King Midas.