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EXCLUSIVE-China's Xiaomi seeks bank pitches for 2018 IPO - sources

HONG KONG, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc has asked banks to pitch next Friday for an initial public offering in 2018, people familiar with the plan told Reuters.

Xiaomi was valued at $46 billion in a 2014 funding round completed before its sales stagnated. More recently it has seen expectations of its value pick up following strong results this year.

Its float could be the world's "largest technology IPO" next year, according to one of the people.

(Reporting by Kane Wu and Julie Zhu; Additional reporting by Jennifer Hughes; Editing by Stephen Coates)