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Xiaomi to make gadgets for corporate customers

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-27 09:10

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

Chinese tech company Xiaomi Corp is branching into the enterprise service market, as it leverages its advantages in consumer electronics to tailor-make smartphones, TVs, and other products for corporate customers.

The move is part of Xiaomi's broader push to increase its revenue source, and more importantly, build its artificial-intelligence-powered internet of things, or AIoT, ecosystem.

Wang Xiang, president of Xiaomi, said the company branched into the To B (to business) market because it now has the capability and opportunity to empower more industries to boost efficiency.

"We now have very strong hardware manufacturing experience, and use internet mindset to improve the efficiency in production, manufacturing, and sales of hardware. That is the core of Xiaomi, and now we want to use our such capabilities to empower more enterprises to boost efficiency," Wang said.

Xiaomi set up a new department focusing on To B business on Jan 1. Bai Peng, vice-president of the new department at Xiaomi, said the company's To B business includes two parts, namely, tailor-making products for corporate customers, and building smart ecosystems.

The company is expected to customize about 600,000 to 700,000 units of terminals for corporate customers this year, Bai said. Among them, smartphones will account for a majority of the volume, and the company will offer customized 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 tailor-make smart speakers, tablets and other products. Bai said Xiaomi's enterprise service business is forecast to generate revenue of more than 2 billion yuan ($313 million) this year, and it aims to achieve revenue of more than 10 billion yuan in 2023.

The goal came after more than 374 million IoT devices, excluding the company's smartphones and personal computers, have been connected to Xiaomi's AIoT platform by the end of June. Over 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 surpassed Apple Inc as the second largest smartphone vendor by shipments for the first time, data from market research company Canalys showed.

Lei Jun, CEO and founder of Xiaomi, said earlier this year the company will step up efforts to safeguard its No 2 standing and will be looking at becoming No 1 over the next three years.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, said compared with internet companies which have also set their sights on IoT, Xiaomi's edge lies in its years of experience in hardware and the fact it has established a beachhead in that area since it is an early mover.

Xiaomi has eyed the consumer IoT sector from mid-2013, building a team comprising engineers to scout for and invest in IoT device startups, said Flora Tang, a research analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Such advantages in the consumer IoT can help Xiaomi, but more efforts are needed by the company to hone its understanding of different industries, as the enterprise service market is quite challenging, industry experts said.

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