THINGS were going so well for Xiaomi Corp. Customers were lining up, investors were swooning and the Beijing-based startup closed funding at a US$45 billion valuation. That was last year.
Now the high-flying smartphone maker is stumbling. Founder Lei Jun's latest business, one of China's most exciting startup stories of the past few years, is likely to miss its own goal of selling 80 million smartphones this year, according to two people with knowledge of its production plans.
Suppliers have also cut their internal targets for Xiaomi in anticipation of the shortfall, they said.
Xiaomi's falter shows the startup's challenge in trying to maintain momentum after a meteoric ascent past Apple Inc...