(Yicai Global) Sept. 1 -- Xiaomi Inc., one of China's leading smartphone makers, has made a number of strategic investments over the last few years in innovative technology enterprises to build a broad-based family of Xiaomi products, some of which are now unicorns.
Wearable wristband maker Huami, air purifier maker Smartmi, segway maker Ninebot and power bank Zmi have all achieved market values of over USD1 billion.
In the past two and a half years, Xiaomi has invested in 55 companies, 29 of which were start ups. Seven of these start-ups have an annual income of over CNY100 million (USD15 million), and two have an annual income of over CNY1 billion, according to data issued by Xiaomi.
The Smartmi air purifier has grown to achieve annual sales of over 1 million, the Zmi power bank has sales of 46.9 million, and the Huami wearable wristband 18.5 million.
CEO Lei Jun explained that while Xiaomi is not an entrepreneurial investment firm, it makes strategic investments to affiliates, including e-commerce platforms, marketing teams and brands, so as to build a carrier fleet centered around itself. In this way, Xiaomi is able to promote the brands of its affiliates and at the same time they form part of the Xiaomi brand matrix.
Xiaomi Vice President Liu De refers to these enterprises as brother companies. Using bamboo forests as an example, he said that a single bamboo has a short life cycle, but by becoming a bamboo forest with roots twining within one another, the organism becomes more complex and more stable.