Xiaomi has backed 56 startups so far to build smart devices for it as it looks to expand its business beyond smartphones and become a consumer electronics giant, one of its top executives has revealed.
The Chinese company, which is valued at $45 billion, sells TVs, smartphones, tablets and WiFi routers, all devices which it produces itself. But it also sells products from water purifiers to headphones, although it does not actually produce any of those.
Instead, the company, which is often dubbed "China's Apple", has invested in a prolific number of startups that are making products for Xiaomi.
"We build those devices through what we call the Xiaomi ecosystem. Think of it as a giant incubator of startups. Basically companies that we help start, that we fund, that we connect to our own supply chain and our own industrial design team such that these companies will produce beautiful Xiaomi branded products," Hugo Barra, the vice president of Global Operators at Xiaomi, told CNBC in an interview.
"We have so far backed 56 startup companies as part of the Xiaomi ecosystem which are working on a wide range of different products most of which haven't been released yet and all of which form this sort of lifestyle category and all of the smart homes, smart gadgets that we are selling."