Xiaomi is picking banks for an IPO worth up to $100 billion
- Chinese phone maker Xiaomi has begun picking banks to underwrite its public offering, which might value the firm at up to $100 billion, according to Bloomberg.
- The firm may go public in the second half of this year.
- Xiaomi was once the biggest smartphone maker in China, earning it plaudits as "the Apple of China."
- The firm has sunk to fourth place in China behind Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, but has made strong progress in India where it's one of the top three manufacturers.
Xiaomi, one of the biggest smartphone brands in China, is picking banks ahead of an IPO at a possible valuation of $100 billion (£72.3 billion).
According to Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank are all working on the flotation, though Xiaomi may still pick additional Chinese underwriters. An IPO could come in the second half of 2018.
Xiaomi is the fourth biggest smartphone maker in China, behind Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo. The firm was nicknamed the "Apple of China" around 2014, when it was the most popular smartphone brand in its home market, with copycat iPhone-like devices which ran Android such as the Mi4. But Xiaomi didn't maintain that lead position for long against competition from Huawei. Huawei took the top spot in China in 2015, helped by its role in the Google Nexus 6P.
In a note to employees at the beginning of 2017, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun admitted that the firm had grown too quickly, dogged by supply chain issues and competition from cheap local rivals. The firm holds around 14% of its home market, making it still bigger than Apple, but far behind Huawei on 19%.
In his note, Lei Jun said the firm was aiming for 100 billion Chinese Yuan ($15.5 billion, £11.3 billion) in revenue for 2017 - which the company hit within 10 months. Despite its slowing performance in China, Xiaomi has pushed ahead in India, where it is one of the top three smartphone makers.
According to Bloomberg, Xiaomi is thinking of entering the US market - though it may be put off by what's happened to its peer Huawei. Huawei's big push into the US last week was scuppered by US carriers pulling back on distribution deals on security fears.