Phone maker Xiaomi’s profit surges as Huawei retreats

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Xiaomi is seen inside the company's office in Bengaluru
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Xiaomi is seen inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India, January 18, 2018. Picture taken January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

March 24, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp on Wednesday reported a 36.7% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, as Android rival Huawei steadily retreats from the global market due to U.S.-led sanctions.

Adjusted net profit for the quarter ending Dec. 31 rose to 3.2 billion yuan ($491 million), beating analysts’ expectations of 2.9 billion yuan.

Sales jumped 24.8% year on year to 70.5 billion yuan. Smartphone sales, which account for the bulk of its revenue, hit 42.6 billion yuan, a 38.4% increase.

In the October-December quarter, Xiaomi’s shipments in China surged 52% from a year earlier, and the company cornered 15% of the market share.

Following a ban by Washington on key components placed on its smartphones, handset shipments by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd plummeted both in China and overseas, according to market research reports.

Anticipating the opportunity, Xiaomi and other Android-based smartphone makers ramped up production of their devices towards the end of last year.

This, however, contributed to an ongoing chip shortage that was partly caused by demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic, outstripping supply from chipmakers such as Qualcomm.

In an earnings call, Xiaomi President Wang Xiang said that the chip shortage’s associated cost increases might get passed on to consumers in some cases.

“We are feeling pressure, but we are looking okay,” Wang told investors.

In February, Xiaomi Vice-president Lu Weibing called it an “extreme shortage”.

Overseas sales grew 27.6% to 33.8 billion yuan, accounting for 47.9% of the company’s revenue.

That marks a slight return to a reliance on its home market as the company in the first quarter of 2020 had reported over 50% of its revenue came from international markets for the first time.

The Chinese smartphone maker on Wednesday also announced that Shou Zi Chew, president of its international department and an executive director, had resigned.

TikTok owner ByteDance said it had hired Chew for a newly created role as chief finance officer, in a sign the tech company is moving towards a much-anticipated initial public offering of one or some of its businesses.

Xiaomi also announced it would acquire the remaining 50.09% in Zimi, the maker of Xiaomi’s branded portable phone chargers, following earlier minority stake purchases. Xiaomi said the latest share purchase was valued at $204.7 million.

Xiaomi reported 2020 annual revenue of 245.9 billion yuan, up 19.4%. Adjusted profit rose 12.58% to 13 billion yuan.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; editing by Kim Coghill and Jason Neely)