China-based device vendor Xiaomi acquired a small stake in TCL Communication, a major supplier of LCD TVs and handsets, as the two entered into a strategic agreement to develop smart devices and appliances.
Xiaomi bought a 0.48 per cent interest in Shenzhen-listed TCL Communication for about CNY167 million ($24.3 million) on the secondary market, Hong Kong newspaper The Standard reported.
Lei Jun, Xiaomi founder and chairman, said a collaboration agreed at end-December will cover research and development, along with supply chain management, and will offer strong support to its home appliance business, the newspaper wrote.
While Beijing-based Xiaomi generates the majority of its revenue from smartphones, it has long pushed IoT devices and says it connected more than 132 million smart devices (excluding mobile phones and laptops) as of 30 September 2018.
At end-November it announced a partnership with Sweden-based retail giant IKEA to offer smart lighting products, in a move to expand the vendor’s range of devices using artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT technologies.
Meanwhile, TCL Communication is tipped to showcase new Alcatel and BlackBerry-branded smartphones at CES in Las Vegas this week.