Xiaomi shakes up management and margins ahead of IPO
Smartphone giant Xiaomi has announced some changes in its top-tier management ahead of what is set to be the biggest IPO of 2018.
The tech company, which is based in China and prides itself on producing reasonably-priced devices, has said goodbye to two of its co-founders.
Xiaomi was initially founded by a group of eight people, and it has been announced that Zhou Guangping and Huang Jiangji will be leaving the company. The two co-founders have cited personal reasons for their decisions to leave.
Zhou was previously director of Xiaomi’s Mi-Phone team while Huang was in charge of developing MiTalk.
In addition to this, current CFO Shou Zi Chew will take on the role of Senior Vice President. Chew joined the company in 2015.
The news comes as Xiaomi appears to be exhibiting positive growth, having knocked Apple out of its spot as the fourth most popular smartphone vendor in China, and committed to its growth in India where the demand for a more reasonably-priced smartphone, such as the company’s flagship Mi model, is on the rise.
In addition, it was announced recently that the company will cap profit margins at 5%, in a move the media has described as “communist”. Net profit for the company’s hardware sales, after tax, will never exceed a margin of 5% as it tries to maintain its reputation as a provider of “innovation for everyone” with competitive “honest pricing”. This news, ahead of an IPO set to bring the company up to $100bn in value, will certainly have an impact on potential investors but according to the press, margins are already fairly low.
The company is set to file its initial public offering by the end of this year. Xiaomi is said to be planning a dual listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as well as in mainland China.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.