Xiaomi will make gadgets for businesses

Consumers try Xiaomi products at a Beijing store in April. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese tech company Xiaomi Corp is entering the business services market as it leverages its advantages in consumer electronics to custom manufacture smartphones, TVs and other products for businesses.

The move is part of Xiaomi’s larger drive to increase its revenue stream and, more importantly, build its Artificial Intelligence-powered Internet of Things ecosystem, or AIoT.

Wang Xiang, Chairman of Xiaomi, said the company has entered the To B (to business) market because it now has the capacity and opportunity to enable more industries to improve their efficiency.

“We now have a very solid background in hardware manufacturing and use the internet mindset to improve the efficiency of hardware production, manufacturing and sales. This is the heart of Xiaomi , and now we want to use our capabilities to enable more businesses to drive efficiency, ”Wang said.

Xiaomi set up a new department focused on To B activities on January 1. Bai Peng, vice president of the new department at Xiaomi, said that the company’s To B business has two parts, namely the manufacturing of bespoke products for business and construction. smart ecosystems.

The company is expected to customize around 600,000 to 700,000 terminal units for business customers this year, Bai said. Of these, smartphones will account for the majority of the volume, and the company will offer custom phones for industries such as e-commerce, finance, real estate, and education.

Xiaomi will also customize TVs for hotels, catering and other industries, as well as smart speakers, tablets and other bespoke products. Bai said that Xiaomi’s business services business is expected to generate revenues of more than 2 billion yuan ($ 313 million) this year, and that it aims to achieve revenues of more than 10 billion yuan by 2023.

The target came after more than 374 million IoT devices, excluding the company’s smartphones and personal computers, were connected to Xiaomi’s AIoT platform at the end of June. More than 7.4 million users have five or more IoT devices connected to Xiaomi’s platform, and its smart home app now has 56.5 million monthly active users.

In the second quarter of this year, Xiaomi for the first time overtook Apple Inc as the second largest supplier of smartphones in terms of shipments, according to data from market research firm Canalys.

Xiaomi CEO and founder Lei Jun said earlier this year that the company will redouble its efforts to maintain its No. 2 position and seek to become No. 1 over the next three years.

Xiang Ligang, chief executive of the Information Consumption Alliance, an association of the telecommunications industry, said that compared to internet companies that have also set their sights on IoT, Xiaomi’s advantage lies in its years of ‘experience in the material and the fact that he established a beachhead in this area because he is a pioneer.

Xiaomi has been observing the mainstream IoT industry from mid-2013, creating a team of engineers to research and invest in IoT device startups, said Flora Tang, research analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Such benefits in mainstream IoT can help Xiaomi, but the company needs to put more effort into refining its understanding of different industries, as the business services market is quite difficult, industry experts said.

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