Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi files for IPO

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Beijing-based smartphone giant Xiaomi has filed its application for an initial public offering (IPO) to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, local media is reporting (in Chinese).

Xiaomi, which is expected to reach a value of about US$10 billion through the IPO, will become one of the top tech firms by market value.

The listing documents offered a glimpse of Xiaomi's finances, with the company reporting that revenue rose by two-thirds previous year to 114.6 billion yuan ($18 billion), including 80 billion yuan from its smartphone division.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has steered his company to possibly the world's biggest IPO since 2014.

Excluding one-time charges, it said its profit was 5.36 billion yuan, according to the file, which is the first time the company has reported financial details.

Alongside smartphones, Xiaomi makes dozens of internet-connected home appliances and gadgets, including scooters, air purifiers and rice cookers, although it derives most of its profits from internet services. Xiaomi posted a gross profit margin of just 8.8 per cent for its smartphone business in 2017 compared to 60 per cent for its internet services business.

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Lei scaled back worldwide operations and instead focused on India, where it's now the top seller alongside Samsung. The numbers underscore how Xiaomi has remained resilient even as the global smartphone market has slowed, helped in part by a push overseas into markets like India.

It's also a vital shot in the arm for a city that's been floundering in its claim to be mainland China's gateway to the financial world, ever since Alibaba chose NY over Hong Kong for its US$25 billion IPO in 2014, which still holds the record as the world's biggest stock sale. The WVR give greater power to founding shareholders even with minority shareholding.

First-quarter shipments more than doubled to 27 million units, giving Xiaomi 7.5 per cent share of the global market, according to Counterpoint Research data.

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi first shot to prominence in China thanks to its tactic of selling nearly all of its phones online at razor-thin profit margins.

The Chinese company submitted documents Thursday to list shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

CITIC Securities' CLSA, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are joint sponsors of the offering.