Xiaomi Confirms US Smartphone Ambitions, Hints At IPO

Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang confirmed the company's ambitions in the United States, having recently told CNBC the firm is presently in the process of gathering the "resources" it needs for a major stateside push. While the Beijing-based original equipment manufacturer has an official presence on Amazon.com where it's offering a limited number of devices such as the Mi A1 Android One smartphone, a "real" U.S. entry wouldn't be possible without a partnership with one of the four national carriers who account for the majority of annual handset sales in the country. Xiaomi was said to have been negotiating with Verizon and AT&T over such a deal several months back but its large-scale U.S. plans remain unrealized. Washington has recently been pressuring wireless carriers to drop their planned and existing partnerships with Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, citing spying concerns raised by their supposedly close ties to Beijing.

The "resources" remark made by the executive who replaced Hugo Barra as the head of Xiaomi's international business last year comes after months of reports that one of the world's largest startups is now preparing to go public. Should the Chinese firm file for an initial public offering this year, it would likely be responsible for the largest tech float of 2018, with insiders previously claiming Xiaomi is targeting a valuation of up to $100 billion. Convincing investors it's worth more than double its $45 valuation from 2015 after the troublesome 2016 it had may be a challenge despite the fact that Xiaomi improved its performance over the course of the last year in a significant manner, having nearly doubled its global device shipments, according to most industry trackers. The company recently started reviving its aggressive global expansion plans which were partially placed on hold in the first half of 2017 and made major steps to establish itself in more European countries while also continuing its investments in India, its largest foreign market.

Following the recent announcement of a comprehensive collaboration with Microsoft whose apps and solutions will soon be supporting a wider variety of Xiaomi-made devices, the firm appears to be positioning itself as an international player with strong partnerships in all parts of the world, thus pursuing an image of a diversified tech giant that's most likely to please potential investors who could support its efforts to go public. Xiaomi is likely to use Hong Kong as its IPO host and file to have its shares listed on the public market in the second half of the year, according to recent reports.

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