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Ratan Tata buys stake in Chinese handset maker Xiaomi

Chairman
emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd Ratan Tata has acquired a stake in Xiaomi, which entered
India in July 2014, making this the first investment by any Indian in the Chinese
handset maker.

According
to a Live Mint report, the value of the stake picked up by Tata Group’s former chief
is not known.

Chairman
emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd Ratan Tata has acquired a stake in Xiaomi, which entered
India in July 2014, making this the first investment by any Indian in the Chinese
handset maker.

According
to a Live Mint report, the value of the stake picked up by Tata Group’s former chief
is not known.

“Mr
Tata is one of the most well-respected business leaders in the world. An
investment by him is an affirmation of the strategy we have undertaken in India
so far. This is just the start of an exciting journey, and we are looking
forward to bringing more products into India,” Lei Jun, founder and chief
executive of Xiaomi, told Live Mint.

“India
is a big focus area for us after China and we approached Mr. Tata to act as an
advisor and mentor for our India business,” Manu Jain, Xiaomi’s India head was
quoted in the report as saying. “Xiaomi is a cash-rich company but the idea
behind this investment is to seek Mr Tata’s advice in helping us tweak our
business model for India.”

Tata,
who retired as head of over $100 billion conglomerate in December 2012 and
currently serves as chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has emerged as a major
venture capital investor since his retirement. He has already made personal
investments in homegrown e-commerce players like Snapdeal, Urban Ladder,
Bluestone and Cardekho.com. In March this year, he also invested in mobile
commerce firm Paytm.

“Xiaomi is one of the fastest-growing
companies in the world. It has brought its innovative business model and
high-quality products to India with huge success,” Ratan Tata was quoted in the
report as saying.

In
December last year, Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion, valuing the firm at $45
billion. Often touted as the ‘Apple of China’, the company has grown to become
a major competition to global giants like Samsung and Apple. As per the
estimates of research firm Gartner, while the company already ranks at the top
in Chinese market, in India it is among the top five players.

Last
year, Xiaomi doubled its revenue and more than tripled shipments of smartphones
to 61.1 million units. Sales are projected to rise to as much as $19 billion
this year, Bloomberg reported last week. Last week, Xiaomi launched its first ‘made for India’ handset, the Mi 4i, priced at Rs 12,999.

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