Xiaomi, the company that is now the world’s third-biggest smartphone maker, has reportedly raised $1 billion at a $45 billion valuation, according to the Wall Street Journal. A Xiaomi spokesperson declined to comment.
If the company is indeed now valued at $45 billion, that represents a significant increase from its previous valuation of $10 billion in August 2013, which Xiaomi director Hans Tung confirmed after its last round of funding.
Since then, Xiaomi has focused on expansion in emerging markets like Southeast Asia, Brazil, Mexico, and India. The latter is already one of its key growth markets, with Xiaomi selling over 100,000 units per week through online retailers like Flipkart.
In 2013, Xiaomi said it sold about 19 million phones, and in 2014, it hopes to more than double that by selling at least 40 million units.
In addition to growing its smartphone business, Xiaomi has also been focusing on other hardware. Earlier this month, for example, it announced a $200 million investment in appliance maker Midea. It also helps to boost sales of its smart TV devices by investing $1 billion in online video content (so far, it has put money into Youku Tudou and iQiyi, China’s leading streaming video platforms).
The WSJ’s report of Xiaomi’s latest fundraising and valuation follows confusion over exactly how much money the company made last year. In November, the WSJ said that Xiaomi had made net profit of $566 million last year. Following the Midea investment earlier this month, however, Reuters reported that Xiaomi had made just $56 million in net profit last year, according to a regulatory filing.
A Xiaomi representative told TechCrunch that the discrepancy is because “the financial figures reported by Reuters and cited by Apple Insider are for Xiaomi Inc., which is the company that invested in Midea Group. Xiaomi Inc. is one of the companies under Xiaomi. Therefore, the filing only covers Xiaomi Inc. but not the entire Xiaomi.”
Xiaomi’s business model has been a topic of speculation because it sells quality smartphones at extremely low prices. The company has said that it generates profits by selling software to users of its devices.