Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology Co. Ltd. is near to closing a fundraising round that will value it at $4 billion, almost half of Nokia’s market capitalization and close to Blackberry maker Research in Motion’s market capitalization.
Local media reported on Tuesday that Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies Ltd. may be an investor.
Last year, Xiaomi received $90 million in B-round venture capital funding from investors such as IDG Capital, Temasek Holdings and Qualcomm Inc., valuing the firm at $1 billion and bringing the total amount it raised to $131 million.
Xiaomi was founded in 2010 with a focus on becoming a mobile internet company. Its founder Lei Jun was crowned by his followers as China’s Steve Jobs.
Similar to Apple Inc., the Chinese phone maker is famous for its hunger marketing and the frenzy among its fans.
Xiaomi, which sells smartphones at a fixed 1,999 yuan ($310), announced last month that sales of its Xiaomi flagship phone had reached 1.8 million units since sales started in September last year. Its phones are sold primarily online through its official website.
Besides phones, Xiaomi has special expertise in software. It has Miliao, an instant messaging application for smartphones similar to Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s (0700.HK) Wexin and WhatsApp. The company claims that the app has about 10 million users.
Another soft power of the company is MIUI, a specially redesigned mobile operating system based on Google Inc.’s Android.