China’s Xiaomi Injecting $7B Into 5G, AI Over 5 Years

Chinese smartphone firm Xiaomi is planning to pump over ¥50 billion ($7.18 billion) into artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G technologies over the next five years, Reuters reported on Thursday (Jan. 2).

The announcement was made by Xiaomi Chief Executive Lei Jun, who posted a letter on the company’s social media account.

“We need to turn our continuous advantage we have in AIoT [artificial intelligence of things] and intelligent life into absolute victory in intelligent full scene, and completely cement our king status in the smart era,” the chief executive said in the letter.

He said in the letter that the company is now a “global technology leader” and pointed to 2019 as an important time for Xiaomi’s global expansion. “… our overseas revenue now accounts for almost half of our total group revenue.” 

He added that Xiaomi now has the reputation of being a “true AIoT leader” in the industry.

This latest investment ups the vow Xiaomi made to spread a ¥10 billion investment in an “All in AIoT” project over five years. The letter indicates that investments will total at least ¥50 billion ($7.18 billion). “This is to ensure we win in this new smart era,” he said.

Lei said in October that the Xiaomi 5G phone plan for 2020 includes the rollout of more than 10 new models.

Beijing-based Xiaomi has a lot of competition from Huawei, which had 42 percent of China’s smartphone market in the third quarter of 2019. 

In November, Xiaomi rolled out its first smartwatch dubbed the Mi Watch, which is said to look similar to the Apple Watch. 

More than 40 popular Chinese apps, such as QQ Messenger and TikTok, are available for the Mi Watch. The firm’s XiaoAI assistant is the watch’s default virtual digital assistant. The Mi Watch will also help users track their performance while cycling, running and swimming, as well as their sleep and heart rate.