Xiaomi (pronounced she-yow-mee) is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the world. It’s the sixth-largest handset maker on earth and No.â€‰3 in China, behind Samsung Electronics and Lenovo Group, according to research firm Canalys. Xiaomi’s recent growth is impressive, and its potential is even greater. In 2013, the company says, it sold 18.7 million smartphones almost entirely from its own website, bringing in $5 billion in revenue. Earlier this year, Lei set an internal goal of selling 40 million smartphones in 2014, then raised it to 60 million. In a financing round last August, venture capitalists gave Xiaomi a $10 billion valuation, about on par with 30-year-old PC maker Lenovo and Silicon Valley darlings Dropbox and Airbnb. At the same time, Xiaomi has branched out from smartphones to tablets, the large-screen HDTVs, a set-top box and home router, phone cases, and portable chargers, as well as a $16 white plush toy bunny – Mitoo, the company mascot, who wears a red-starred Chinese army hat.
The technology establishment’s biggest threat comes from the east.