Smartphone startup Xiaomi has taken the crown as the most valuable startup in the world after raising $1.1 billion with a pre-money valuation of $45 billion. Uber, whose ride-sharing service may or may not surprise you with a creepy driver who is either insane or a sex offender, previously held the title with a $41 billion valuation.
The news came when Xiaomi co-founder and president Bin Lin formally announced the funding and valuation in a Facebook post on Monday.
“This is an affirmation of Xiaomi’s stellar results in four years, and heralds a new phase for the company … We will strive to continue bringing innovation to everyone, with a goal of producing high-quality, high-performance devices with great user experience.
Xiaomi Inc. was founded in 2010 in Beijing by entrepreneurs Bin Lin and Lei Jun, who is regarded as the “Steve Jobs” of China for founding revolutionary companies that include Amazon China, software company Kingsoft, internet company UCWeb and the video-based social network YY. According to Forbes, the 45-year-old Jun is one of China’s richest men with a $9.1 billion net worth.
The company, which is hardly a startup anymore, now has over 3,000 employees throughout China, Malaysia and Singapore, with more soon in India and Indonesia. Xiaomi released their first smartphone in 2011 and is famous for producing phones sold for prices close to actual production costs exclusively online — the company profits by also producing phone accessories, other consumer electronics and software. Xiaomi is now the third largest smartphone maker in the world behind Samsung and Apple, respectively, and is also the dominant smartphone maker in China.
Xiaomi has stayed relatively unknown in the United States until now, although the company has garnered press in the past for allegedly copying Apple’s designs. Could Xiaomi eventually come to dominate the U.S. market with their inexpensive smartphone strategy?