Latest China scam: Xiaomi’s Lei Jun wants to give you US$10 billion
It is not just investors and Xiaomi fans who are keeping a close eye on the Chinese smartphone maker’s application for what may be the world’s biggest IPO since 2014. Scammers and hoaxers have locked their sights on the Beijing-based company too.
“Hello, I am Lei Jun. I am now submitting the listing application in Hong Kong, but my bank card cannot be used here, and I only need 1,000 yuan (US$157) to submit the application successfully”, read a text message that was widely circulated in China on Thursday, when Xiaomi filed its IPO application.
“I have chosen you, stranger. If you transfer 1,000 yuan into the bank account I give you, you will be given 10 per cent of Xiaomi stake after our successful listing,” according to the message, a screenshot of which was posted on Sina Weibo.
Xiaomi on cusp of world’s biggest IPO since 2014 sets sights on global markets
While it is unclear whether the message was sent by phone scammers or a hoax dreamt up by pranksters, it can be seen as a measure of the general public’s interest level in Xiaomi’s listing plans. Xiaomi said it had no comment.
With a reported estimated valuation of US$100 billion, a 10 per cent stake in the eight-year-old firm would amount to US$10 billion, or a 63.6 million times return on the 1,000 yuan hand over.
A successful listing in Hong Kong at the reported valuation would catapult Xiaomi, founded in 2010 by Lei, past Baidu and JD.com to become the third-biggest Chinese technology company by value, after Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group, parent of the South China Morning Post. At US$10 billion, Xiaomi’s IPO would also be the 15th biggest of all time, or the fourth-largest in Hong Kong.
Xiaomi applies for IPO in Hong Kong, giving city the pole position in 2018 global race
In an open letter released on Thursday morning, Lei declared his ambitions to take the smartphone maker global, saying that Chinese smartphone maker is and will continue to prove that the Xiaomi model is quickly replicable globally.
“What Xiaomi wants to build is definitely not a closed business empire,” Lei said in the letter posted on his official WeChat social media account. “Xiaomi is also not just an innovative technology company, more an advocate and creator of a digital age lifestyle. There needs to be not one Xiaomi but 100 Xiaomis, maybe even more, to build a rich and prosperous new business ecosystem.”