Xiaomi Now World’s Most Valuable Start-Up

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The Chinese mobile maker’s $45bn valuation in its latest funding round surpasses that of Uber earlier this month

Chinese mobile technology maker Xiaomi has completed a $1.1 billion (£700m) funding round that values the company at $45bn, making it the most valuable start-up in the world.

That distinction had previously belonged to mobile taxi-hailing firm Uber, which was valued at $40bn earlier this month.

Xiaomi

Quick growth

The funding round was completed last week, and was announced on social media site Weibo by Xiaomi chief executive and founder Lei Jun. It included participation by All Stars Investment, DST Global, GIC Private Limited, Hopu Investment Management Co. Ltd. and Yunfeng Capital, which was founded by Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma.

The $45bn valuation makes Xiaomi worth nearly three times the market capitalisation of Lenovo, the world’s top PC maker, and more than four times the $10bn valuation of its previous financing round only last year.

The figure reflects investors’ belief that Xiaomi, China’s top mobile maker and No. 3 in the world behind Samsung and Apple, will grow into a global brand.

Intellectual property challenges

However, the company, founded in 2010, continues to have slim profit margins and has faced intellectual property challenges outside of China, with sales in India recently suspended following an intellectual property complaint by Ericsson.

Xiaomi’s recent investments include third-party manufacturers of “Internet of Things” embedded devices, as it seeks to build up an ecosystem around its own products.

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