Fast-rising Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has plans to invest heavily in media content in its home market and overseas, as well as in startups in India, Reuters reported.
The company’s global VP, Hugo Barra (pictured), told Reuters it has reserved $1 billion to invest in internet TV content in China and foreign markets. He also said the company is looking to make investments in startups in India, its largest market outside of the mainland.
Xiaomi has high expectations for India, and Lin Bin, co-founder and president, said previously that the last few months of 2014 were very encouraging, quickly selling out of the estimated 200,000 units it was shipping there each week.
But it also faced a ban on the sale of its smartphones in India for infringing on essential patents (it has since been given a reprieve by the Delhi High Court). And in late November it slowed its international rollout plans, as it struggles to keep pace with growth in the new markets it has already entered this year.
The four-year-old firm, which raised $1.1 billion in a round of funding in December, has taken a number of steps to diversify beyond smartphones, which are increasingly becoming commoditised. It has invested in numerous Chinese gadget suppliers and in December joined two venture-capital companies to invest $40 million in US-based wearables firm Misfit.
It also also strengthened its efforts in the Internet of Things space. Last year it beta-tested four smart home gadgets – a webcam, light bulb, power plug and remote control centre — and launched a blood pressure monitor and a WiFi router. Last month it continued to expand its product line with the release of its $150 Mi Air Purifier.
Privately-held Xiaomi announced recently it sold 61 million smartphones last year – up 227 per cent from 2013. Its pre-tax revenue last year increased 135 per cent to CNY74.3 billion ($12.1 billion).