With the mobile handset market getting crowded around the globe, Xiaomi, the Chinese handset manufacturer, is branching into new markets, eyeing any that aren’t already saturated.
In a Wired report, Liu De, who cofounded Xiaomi in 2010, said he plans to extend the company’s business model of investing in companies and giving them access to its designers, marketing might and supply chain, to branch into other industries and different products. Typically, Xiaomi takes a 10–20 percent stake in the companies it invests in and gains the rights to brand and hawk the products.
“We’re using our entire platform to lift these companies to the next level,” De said in the interview. The report noted the Chinese company has already sold greater than 50 million connected devices with that strategy, with four of the companies it invested in reaching market capitalizations of more than $1 billion. The Mi Air Purifier, which the report noted is the most popular air purifier in China, came out of a startup that Xiaomi invested in and helped grow. Xiaomi hopes that strategy will propel it to become the so-called “Everything Company.” Thanks to its location next to some of the largest manufacturers in the world, it may actually be successful, noted the report. “It’s a unique model that I haven’t seen before and that I think is only viable for a company that comes from China,” said Hugo Barra, the company’s global VP and English-speaking spokesman.
While Xiaomi has seen successes and is gearing up for more, it’s not the only electronics company in China that has that way of thinking. The report pointed to LeEco, Huawei and Lenovo as three examples of companies that realized they could do things faster and on a larger scale than their competitors, which could put pressure on Xiaomi’s prospects.