Xiaomi Sees China Smartphone Market Peaking at 500 Million Units

  • Company affirms no plans for IPO, doesn’t need to raise funds
  • CFO expects China growth will continue at slower pace

Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone launch event in New Delhi.

Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Xiaomi Corp. expects the smartphone industry’s sales in China to peak at about 500 million units annually as growth matures in the world’s largest market.

“The natural ceiling for the market is about 500 million phones,” Chief Financial Officer Shou Zi Chew said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Smartphone shipments in China reached a record 438 million units last year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Xiaomi shot to the top of China’s market by pioneering an online flash sales model that sold inexpensive smartphones directly to consumers, bypassing retail outlets and wireless carriers. Others have since adopted that model, curtailing growth as the Beijing-based company missed its target of selling 100 million devices in 2015 and was overtaken by Huawei Technologies co.

Xiaomi, which was valued at $45 billion after a 2014 funding round, has no plans for an initial public offering and doesn’t need to raise money, Chew said. He cited market volatility caused by the U.S. election and China’s transitioning economy as other reasons to avoid capital markets.

“In today’s environment, it probably is not the best time, coupled with the fact that we honestly have no need to come to the market to raise any money,” he said. "We’ll let the world sort itself, and we’re confident it will, before we access the capital markets in a significant way."

Chew expects the rapid consolidation among Chinese vendors will continue.

China has about 300 phone makers and that number may be halved in 12 months by competition, a sales plateau and the slowing economy, according to executives and analysts.

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