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China's Xiaomi promises to cap hardware income margin ahead of IPO
CHINESE smartphone and smart device maker Xiaomi IPO-XMGP.HK will cap income from its hardware business at 5 per cent of total profits starting in 2018, as it looks to position itself as an internet services provider ahead of a highly-anticipated IPO.
Xiaomi - which makes dozens of internet-connected products including scooters, water purifiers and televisions - said in a statement on Wednesday that any profits from hardware exceeding the 5 per cent quota will be distributed among users, without giving specific details.
The promise comes as the company is looking to market its internet services business to investors ahead of an IPO that could potentially value the smartphone maker at US$100 billion.
"We have always viewed our hardware as the gateway to providing our users with Internet services," said founder and Chief Executive Lei Jun.
Xiaomi has enlisted CLSA, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as joint sponsors for its proposed listing, sources with direct knowledge of the matter have said.
The company says its revenue between January and October 2017 was 100 billion yuan (S$21 billion). Its non-hardware revenue streams are linked to its user interface, "MIUI", and include entertainment subscriptions and financial services.
The five per cent cap only applies to the company's consumer hardware products, it said.
Xiaomi has also invested in making its own chipsets and microprocessors, which will not fall under the cap.
Xiaomi rose rapidly to become the world's largest startup in 2014 by selling its smartphones with thin margins, cutting costs by using online retail channels and doing minimal marketing.
After a slump in sales in 2016, the company has since undergone a strategic shift, opening hundreds of offline stores to sell its growing collection of smart devices and reclaiming a large part of its previous market share.
It has also expanded heavily into foreign markets, including India, where it is now the top smartphone vendor, according to research firm Canalys. REUTERS