Xiaomi trumps Uber’s US$40 billion valuation

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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s latest valuation has soared to US$45 billion after securing US$1.1 billion in additional funding, according to the company’s president and co-founder Bin Lin.

This means it is now the most valuable tech startup in the world, surpassing app-based transportation network Uber’s valuation of US$40 billion following its latest round of capital injection.

Additionally, Xiaomi was named as the world’s third-biggest smartphone manufacturer earlier this year. Although that title was recently stolen by fellow Chinese handset maker Huawei in December, it is a significant achievement for a fledgling company founded in April 2010. Moreover, it is still China’s top smartphone vendor, trumping Samsung, Apple, and Lenovo.

Last year, the company raked in US$56 million in profits. However, this is only a tenth of the profits reported in The Wall Street Journal last month, and it is nothing compared to Apple’s US$25.4 billion earnings from China in 2013.

According to a report from research firm Gartner, Xiaomi sold 16 million handsets in Q3 2014. That’s not only a massive gain from the 3.6 million units seen a year ago, but it’s also the largest growth of any smartphone maker.

This stellar growth is attributed to the company’s focus on selling high-quality smartphones at a fraction of the cost of competitors.

For example, the price of an unlocked version of Xiaomi’s flagship Mi4 phone is just over US$300, but its specifications are similar to the best phones from Apple, Lenovo, and Samsung, all of which are priced from US$650.

With its recently enlarged war chest, Xiaomi now plans to sell its affordable smartphones in emerging markets, namely India and Brazil.

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