Smartphone maker Xiaomi has stopped its tradition of releasing the number of handsets it sold during the previous year. That strategy yielded numerous headlines for the Chinese company, but its CEO said this week that the company was going through a transition after growing too quickly.
Going back to January of 2016 the writing was on the wall when Xiaomi announced that it sold more than 70 million handsets during 2015.
That was an impressive amount of sales given that sales worldwide of smartphones were slowing down, but was short of the public target of the company of 80 million that had been lowered from its initial forecast of 100 million.
It has been quite evident from reports by analysts that 2016 was not a strong year of growth for Xiaomi. While the company was close to the top of the ladder for sales in China, and remained steady in India, its leading emerging market, no strong acceleration took place as it has in recent years.
For instance, in 2012 sales were 7.2 million but jumped in 2013 to over 18.7 million then catapulted to 61 million during 2014.
It is not surprising the company is not releasing its most recent year’s sales figures. Explosive growth is not only difficult to maintain, but what set Xiaomi apart from competitors, its online only sales and use of components, have been copied and mimicked throughout the mobile handset industry.
Therefore, it trades now for the most part on its brand, which is tough when its devices are affordable and Apple is what is most desirable in China for smartphones by a long shot.
However, Xiaomi did nothing to help itself through its bold predictions and promoting its growth. Co-founder and CEO Lei Jung admitted this week that the company in general had moved far too fast.
Xiaomi was valued in December of 2014 at over $45 billion thanks to a funding round of $1.1 billion. Many in the industry feel Xiaomi has not done much to justify its value since that time.
Despite an honest admission, the CEO’s tone remained upbeat as he told his staff that the company’s most difficult time were now behind them.
While the company has not released its sales figures, it did release metrics that it is hoping will illustrate its growth as a business that go beyond just selling smartphones, which it admitted recently it does not make a profit on.