Huawei competitor Xiaomi plans to invest $7.2bn in AI and 5G

3 Jan 2020272 Views

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Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said that the Chinese electronics company wants to cement its ‘king status in the smart era’.

Lei Jun, the CEO and founder of Xiaomi, has announced plans to invest 50bn yuan, or around $7.2bn, in AI and 5G technologies over the next five years, in a bid to improve Xiaomi’s offerings in both sectors.

According to Reuters, he said that the Chinese technology company needs to benefit from its advantage in the so-called ‘artificial intelligence of things’ (AIoT).

Lei said: “We need to turn our continuous advantage we have in AIoT and intelligent life into absolute victory in intelligent full scene and cement our king status in the smart era.”

Xiaomi’s strategy

This investment increases last year’s pledge to invest around $1.4bn into AI and smart devices, in a move the Xiaomi boss described as an “all-in IoT strategy”.

While making the announcement, Lei said that in 2019 Xiaomi became the first smart TV brand to ship more than 10m units in China within a year.

He also announced that the former head of Lenovo China’s smartphone business unit, Chang Cheng, would be joining the company as vice-president of smartphone product planning. The Xiaomi chief added that the company plans to continue hiring international talent as the company grows in 2020.

“I urge all Xiaomiers to stick with five guidelines: that we must make friends with our users, maintain the cost-effective strategy, prioritise technological innovations, insist to provide best quality products and stick to our entrepreneurial mindset and fighting spirit,” Lei said.

Diversifying the business

Xiaomi’s diversification is being seen as a strategic attempt to maintain healthy business growth as the smartphone market becomes more competitive. Local rival Huawei saw record revenue last year, capturing 42pc of China’s smartphone market in Q3 2019.

However, according to ZDNet, Xiaomi has relied heavily on overseas markets, with business outside of China contributing to nearly 50pc of the company’s overall revenue in 2019.

Xiaomi, which was founded in 2010, originally manufactured budget smartphones before diversifying into other electronics products, such as laptops, televisions, wearables, electric scooters and even rice cookers.

According to some reports, the business has plans to launch 10 different 5G smartphones in 2020.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com