Update: Financial Times reports that Xiaomi has lined up $1.5 billion in venture funding as part of a valuation that could exceed $40 billion. Russian internet company DST, which also backed companies like Alibaba, Facebook and Airbnb, is one of the investors currently in negotiations with the Chinese handset maker.
Bloomberg on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter, reports that Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is in talks to hold a funding round that could value the smartphone maker at between $40 billion to $50 billion. The news arrives just days after it was reported that Xiaomi overtook LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker.
Xiaomi had a financing round in August 2013 that valued the company at $10 billion at the time, although the up-and-coming smartphone maker has been making impressive strides since recruiting former Google executive Hugo Barra, more than doubling its sales following international expansion and outselling Apple in China during the first quarter.
“Founder and Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun has pushed Xiaomi, which only released its first smartphone in 2011, into new markets from Singapore to India,” the report claims. “The international expansion, combined with surging sales for its Mi 4 smartphone and low-cost Redmi model, have vaulted the company into the ranks of the world’s top mobile-phone vendors.
The valuation would place Xiaomi ahead of other Asian handset makers like Sony and Lenovo, valued at approximately $21 billion and $16 billion respectively. Lenovo announced last week that formerly Google-owned handset maker Motorola is now a subsidiary of its company following completion of a $2.9 billion acquisition reached in January.
Xiaomi launched in 2010, originally as a software maker for Android-based smartphones, and more recently has been successful at selling entry-level devices in emerging markets such as China and India. Xiaomi plans to expand its footprint in Asia and Europe to further bolster its growing smartphone business and compete with Apple and Samsung.
Xiaomi declined to comment.