Date
21 August 2017
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The Big Picture: XIAOMI IN SPOTLIGHT

The Chinese government should give higher priority to the mobile internet sector as part of a national strategy to support the country’s overall industry upgrade, Xiaomi Inc. chairman and founder Lei Jun {雷軍} told Premier Li Keqiang {李克強} in Beijing last Friday.

Li, who was gathering opinions from industry leaders in preparation for an annual work report, agreed that internet has an important role to play in the upgrade of traditional industries, Beijing News quoted Lei as saying in a Sunday report.

The premier remarked that Xiaomi, which literally means “small rice” in Chinese, has already become “big rice”, meaning that the firm’s business was growing robustly, the report said.

Lei said the government should step up the fight against piracy, noting that about half the handset products labeled as “Xiaomi” in the market are fake. He complained to the premier that many local governments are unwilling to curb pirated products as the manufacturers were seen contributing to the regional gross domestic product.

While Lei’s complaint may not lead to any real change on the ground in the piracy situation, his meeting with Li will definitely help Xiaomi enhance its reputation among Chinese handset makers, observers say. From Beijing’s perspective, Xiaomi has the potential to become another Apple Inc. if it can maintain its high growth rate over the next few years.

On Jan. 13, Xiaomi is said to have sold 20,000 handsets to Taiwanese customers through the internet in just 54 seconds, showing that the brand has lot of fans overseas.

Xiaomi’s handset sales surged 160 percent to 18.7 million units in 2013, technology website Mydrivers.com reported on Jan. 2, citing a company statement. Pre-tax sales revenue was up 150 percent at 31.6 billion yuan (US$5.22 billion). In view of the huge demand for its smartphones, the company will release at least 40 million units into the market this year, Lei was quoted as saying.

Govt targets agriculture modernization

China will press full-scale reform in farms and villages to speed up agricultural modernization, the official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday, citing the State Council. The measures are part of the so-called No. 1 central document issued by China’s cabinet over the weekend. The 33-point document features four major initiatives, namely guaranteeing the quantity and quality of food supply, establishing a long-term sustainable mechanism, balancing development of rural and urban areas, and separating farmland ownership, experts were quoted as saying. Also, the government will maintain subsidies to farmers and strengthen insurance protection for three main types of grain — rice, wheat and corn, the report said.

Rail, urban transport spending seen at 1 trln yuan this year

China is expected to invest a total of 1 trillion yuan (US$164.52 billion) on rail and urban transport this year, Shanghai Securities News reported Monday, citing transport expert Zhang Jiangyu. Railway spending is expected to come in between 650 billion yuan and 670 billion yuan, of which high-speed rail will account for about 80 percent. Urban transport will receive 320 billion yuan compared with 286 billion yuan last year, Zhang was quoted as saying. By the end of the year, the country will have an estimated 2,765 kilometres of railway track, up from 2,530 kilometres at end-2013 and the world’s longest, the report said.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]

JP/AC/RC

 

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