1. Commerce
May 3, 2018

China’s Xiaomi begins run up for a $10 billion Hong Kong listing

By Billy

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi — one of the world’s largest smartphone companies — has started preparations for a $10 billion listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Xiaomi this morning filled a prospectus that gives prospective investors a first look at the company’s financials ahead of what could be the largest initial public offering (IPO) since China retail giant Alibaba raised $25 billion in 2014.

The documents show revenue soared 67% last year to around $18 billion while operating profit more than tripled to $1.9 billion — however, cash burn at the company remains high, with Xiaomi getting through some $156 million last year.

The IPO could value the company at almost $100 billion and is due to happen in July.

Xiaomi — founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun — has staged something of a recovery in recent months after admitting last year that it had grown too quickly.

Xiaomi began life as a cheaper iPhone maker but now sells everything from rice cookers to air-conditioners, as well as software services.

The company now wants to become more than a hardware company and promised to cap its hardware profit margins at 5% — returning any excess to its users.

Lei, along with co-founder Lin Bin, will continue to control the post-IPO company through a special class of shares.

In an open letter that has reminded investors of Google’s pre-IPO manifesto, Lei said:

We are building an open global ecosystem, and not a walled garden. I believe we can create a paradigm shift of efficiency in the business world and use technology to improve the lives of many.

We have changed how hundreds of millions of people live, and we will become a part of the lives of billions of people globally in the future.

After a slump in sales in 2016, Xiaomi broke into the world’s top five smartphone makers in the fourth quarter of 2017, shipping 28.1 million units, according to IDC.

In India — a key battleground for the world’s biggest smartphone sellers with a huge untapped market — Xiaomi has overtaken Samsung as the best selling smartphone maker with a 31% market share, according to Canalys.

Xiaomi now operates more than 500 brick and mortar retail stores, mostly in China and India. It plans to open 2,000 stores worldwide by 2019.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong stocks were the region’s biggest losers today ahead of US-China trade talks slated to start later in the day and follow a rough session overnight on Wall Street in the wake of the Fed’s Wednesday meeting when interest rates were left on hold.

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