Xiaomi Corp has filed an initial public offering to be listed in Hong Kong, which is expected to be the biggest IPO globally this year.
Revenue surged 67.5 percent to 114.5 billion yuan ($18 billion) in 2017, after posting anemic growth of just 2.4 percent a year earlier, while operating profit more than tripled. It also said it made a net loss of CNY 43.89 billion versus a profit of CNY 491.6 million in 2016.
Xiaomi has also steadily expanded its overseas market-less than half of its phone shipments in the first quarter of this year were domestic, according to research firm IDC. In an open letter reminiscent of Google's own pre-IPO manifesto, Lei pledged to transform Xiaomi into more than a hardware company and again promised to cap its hardware profit margins at 5 percent - returning any excess to its users.
The company is now at the fourth position in the smartphone market globally, behind Samsung, Apple and Huawei.
Xiaomi's business now covers smartphones, mobile application stores and intelligent devices from routers and AI speakers to air purifiers and wristbands.
Founded in 2010, the Chinese company was the fifth biggest smartphone maker in the world previous year, shipping more than 92 million devices, according to research firm IDC. Armed with the new rules allowing the listing of companies with dual-class structures, Hong Kong is eyeing several tech listings that are expected in the coming two years from Chinese firms with a combined market cap of United States dollars 500 billion.
Xiaomi is applying for a Hong Kong stock listing with dual share classes that give certain shareholders much more power, which the new rules allow.
Xiaomi could be the biggest IPO since Alibaba's $25 billion debut in 2014. The structure would allow the company to benefit from the "continuing vision and leadership" of the dual-class share beneficiaries, who would control the company for its "long-term prospects and strategy", it said.
CLSA, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc are sponsoring Xiaomi's IPO.