Xiaomi just filed for the world's biggest IPO since 2014

22 2018 pro-independence activist Andy Chan poses during an interview with AFP in Hong Kong

The Chinese smartphone maker is taking advantage of changes in Hong Kong that mean companies with different share classes can now list in the city.

"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 submitted a heavily redacted filing to the Hong Kong exchange late on Wednesday, May 2, laying out its financial details in what appeared to set the stage for a full IPO announcement.

The listing could value Xiaomi at up to $100 billion and would be the biggest Chinese tech IPO since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd raised $21.8 billion in 2014.

Under Lei, Xiaomi is looking to enter developed markets for smartphones as it consolidates its position in emerging markets.

In 2017, Xiaomi's revenue reached 114.6 billion yuan (US$18.2 billion) including one-third from overseas regions, representing growth of 67 percent year-on-year. It also said it made a net loss of CNY 43.89 billion versus a profit of CNY 491.6 million in 2016. According to a new IDC report, Xiaomi is the world's fourth-largest smartphone maker.

Xiaomi, an eight-year-old Beijing-based company, didn't provide financial figures for market value in their IPO application.

Operating profit for 2017 was 12.22 billion yuan, up from 3.79 billion yuan a year ago. Though it suffered through a challenging 2016, the company bounced back by revamping its sales model and expanding in India, where it rivals Samsung Electronics Co. as the biggest vendor.

First-quarter shipments more than doubled to 27 million units, giving Xiaomi 7.5 per cent share of the global market, according to Counterpoint Research data. Xiaomi is also likely to be among the first Chinese tech firms seeking a secondary listing in its home market, using the planned China depositary receipts route, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Xiaomi's business now covers smartphones, mobile application stores and intelligent devices from routers and AI speakers to air purifiers and wristbands.

CITIC Securities' CLSA, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are joint sponsors of the offering.

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