By now you have certainly heard of Xiaomi. If you have not purchased any of their devices then you will at the very least heard of their name. Especially, if you are a frequent reader here. It seems the Chinese company are in the news almost every day. Which in reality, is some feat bearing in mind that they are only a four-year old company. However, their infancy does not show in either their current success or future ambitions. Already rising to become China’s number one smartphone manufacturer and the third in the world only behind Samsung and Apple. That is some serious achievement when you consider their age. To put it into perspective, anyone reading this who is using a smartphone four years old (or older), then your device is older than Xiaomi.
Well, in spite of the Chinese company taking most of the credit for their achievements (which they rightly should be), they could not have got to where they are without the help of funding. Even as recently as December, Xiaomi were on the funding warpath again and reportedly secured over $1 billion in funding in that cycle alone. What most people won’t know though is that Richard Ji, and his largely unknown fundraising company All-Stars Investment Ltd was the single biggest investor in Xiaomi’s latest round of funding. What’s more is that Ji, looks to identify ‘category killers’ and startups who might shake up the industry. It is this mindset that evidently turned his attention to Xiaomi in the first place. They certainly were a startup who shook (and still is shaking) the market. Not to mention that they certainly can be classed as a category killer without too much argument.
Ji’s view of who is rising (and therefore, who to back) is not based on pure assumption either. Ji did in his previous life work as a technology industry analyst for Morgan Stanley and as such does know his stuff. However, interestingly it seems his backing of XIaoniu was not strictly business. During an interview with Reuters, Ji noted that in his time as a tech analyst he did build close ties with a number of Chinese entrepreneurs in the industry. Most notably, Lei Jun. For those that don’t know, Jun is the CEO and founder of Xiaomi. According to Ji, Xiaomi fitted the bill of what he considers to be a ‘category killer’. What’s more is that Ji does not expect the Xiaomi boom to end anytime soon and he is probably not wrong. Especially after last week’s Xiaomi press conference where we got to see the first glimpse of the next industry Xiaomi plan to shake up, the TV one.