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Ratan Tata invests in Xiaomi; to be key advisor in India expansion


Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata, who invested in his personal capacity, reports ET. According to the company, Tata will act as a key advisor as it looks to expand in India.

Xiaomi had previously raised $1.1 billion from a series of investors including DST Global, Singapore’s GIC, Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, Hopu Fund, and All-Stars Investment among others at a valuation of $45 billion, in January this year. The company also raised funds in August last year, when it secured an undisclosed amount at $10 billion valuation. Prior to this, it had raised around $350 million across three different rounds and also reportedly secured a $1 billion loan from 29 banks in October 2014.

Xiaomi India expansion:

Xiaomi, which launched in India in July this year, has adopted a flash sales based distribution model through an exclusive tie-up with online marketplace Flipkart. The company eventually started selling the phones in brick and mortar shops last month and also ditched its exclusive deal with Flipkart for most phones earlier this month.

Xiaomi also launched its much awaited Mi 4i smartphone exclusively in India this month, although it’s being sold only on Flipkart. The company also launched its wearable device, the Mi Band, in India priced at Rs 999 at the same time, which will be available via its own online store that in launched in March. In January, Xiaomi had launched Redmi 2 in India and introduced a 4G variant of its Redmi Note and is apparently working on bringing Mi TV to the country.

Globally, Xiaomi claims to be one among the top three players and co-founder Bin Lin claimed that they sold 61.12 million smartphones in 2014, up 227% on a yearly basis. The revenues also grew by 135% to CNY74.3 billion (around $12 billion) for 2014. Xiaomi reported a profit of $56 million in 2013 on revenues of $4.3 billion, although it did not disclose its profit in 2014. The company also recently acquired 1.3% stake in Midea Group for $203.7 million, in bid to enhance its presence in the internet-connected home electronics space.

Note that Xiaomi got a reprieve in December last year, allowing it to sell Qualcomm-based handsets after it was stopped by the Delhi High Court from importing & selling handsets in India that infringe on Ericsson’s standard essential patents (SEP).

Image source: Xiaomi

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