Xiaomi Said to Plan Completion of Funding by Year-End

Xiaomi Corp. plans to complete a private equity funding that may value the company at $40 billion to $50 billion by the end of the year, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun is personally overseeing the pursuit of funds to help the company expand, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Lei prefers private equity and sees the process of an initial public offering as too much of a distraction, the people said.

Xiaomi needs funds as Lei pushes the four-year-old smartphone vendor into 10 new countries this year. The Beijing-based company is also broadening its reach beyond phones and tablets by announcing plans this week to invest $1 billion in online content to aid sales of its Web-ready televisions. In an interview in September 2013, Lei said Xiaomi wouldn’t sell shares to the public in the next five years to fund expansion.

Joy Han, a Beijing-based Xiaomi spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether the company is seeking funding through private equity.

The South China Morning Post today reported that Xiaomi is aiming for an IPO as early as next year, citing two unidentified people close to the company. Han said the company is still ruling that out.

“Lei Jun doesn’t change his mind,” Han said in an e-mail today. “We don’t have the plan of IPO in the next year.”

Surging Shipments

Xiaomi, which means millet in Chinese, was founded in 2010 to make software for mobile devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system, and the company introduced its first smartphone in China the following year.

The company more than tripled global smartphone shipments to 17.3 million units in the third quarter from 5.6 million a year earlier, International Data Corp. reported Oct. 29. Its market share more than doubled to 5.3 percent from 2.1 percent, the researcher said.

That lifted Xiaomi into the world’s top-three vendors for the first time, trailing only Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California, IDC said.

The company’s had a financing round in August 2013 that had then valued Xiaomi at $10 billion.

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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