In a move that many have been predicting for years, Xiaomi might finally be going public sometime in 2018, with the company reportedly seeking a valuation of at least $50 billion.
According to Bloomberg‘s sources, Xiaomi is in talks with investment banks and might kick off its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong. The alleged $50 billion valuation would be higher than the $46 billion valuation that Xiaomi received back in 2014 as part of its funding round.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Xiaomi since then, however. Even though the company was the top smartphone maker in China for a while, it has since ceded its position to the likes of Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, which is part of why there is some investor skepticism.
Investors are also skeptical because of Xiaomi’s business model. The company is known to sell devices at razor-thin margins, with the software ecosystem depended on to provide additional revenue. The problem is that, even though Xiaomi has a very diverse portfolio of devices, the software ecosystem is not nearly as prominent as Apple’s or Google’s.
In other words, there is not much reason for people to return to Xiaomi apart from shiny new hardware.
Even with these caveats, Xiaomi is reportedly confident it will successfully fetch a valuation of at least $50 billion. Following a tumultuous 2016, the company has turned things around and re-captured some of the momentum it lost, helped along by its improved prospects in India and recent entry into Spain. That success has gotten Xiaomi very close to usurping Samsung’s top position in India and has sustained its fourth-place position in China.
Xiaomi has also been heavily investing in offline retail, a departure from the company’s previous dependence on an online-only presence. Remember that Xiaomi mainly depended on word-of-mouth and social media marketing, so an emphasis on an offline presence is relatively new territory for the company.
An IPO would not only help Xiaomi with its international expansion into emerging markets like Russia and Indonesia, but also double its investment in India. The extra money would also help push along a possible expansion into the US, but that will not be as easy as amassing some money on the side.
A Xiaomi spokesperson said the company does not comment on things related to a possible IPO, but reports peg that it could happen as early as the second half of 2018.