Indian industrialist Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed sum in Xiaomi, China’s biggest smartphone maker, giving a shot in the arm to the firm’s plans to expand in India.
“India is our biggest market outside of mainland China and also an extremely important one,” Xiaomi co-founder and president Lin Bin said in a statement.
“Our goal is to become No. 1 in the next three to five years, and we are keen on partnerships here.”
Since Tata’s retirement in 2012 as chairman of the conglomerate founded by his family, he has been an active venture investor in Indian e-commerce start-ups.
Tata, who is now chairman emeritus of Tata Group, made the investment with his personal wealth, and the company is not involved in the deal, the Financial Times reported.
The announcement Saturday followed a visit to India by Xiaomi last week.
During the visit, former Google executive Hugo Barra, now Xiaomi’s vice-president for international operations, unveiled the company’s newest handset, the Mi 4i.
It is the first phone Xiaomi has launched outside China.
Localised versions of the Mi 4i will also be begin selling in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong next month.
Xiaomi controlled 4 per cent of India’s smartphone market in last year’s fourth quarter, figures from market research firm IDC show.
Market leader Samsung controlled 22 per cent, followed by Indian vendors Micromax, Intex and Lava.
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