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Homecompanies marketsXiaomi gains $27b since June as Apple posts sliding revenue in China

Xiaomi gains $27b since June as Apple posts sliding revenue in China

Apple’s sales dip in China is providing an opportunity for yet another Chinese Android smartphone maker to win favour with customers and investors.

Xiaomi has gained about US$20 billion (S$27.2 billion) in market value since a June low, on excitement over its latest handset as well as forays into electric vehicles and other businesses. The Hong Kong-listed stock rose more than 60 per cent in that span, making it the best performer on the Hang Seng Tech Index.

Chinese Android makers are capitalising as Apple posts sliding revenue in the country, even amid signs that Asia’s largest smartphone market is starting to bottom out after years of decline.

Xiaomi’s 14 series has received over one million orders since its late-October launch. That marks the second smash debut for a Chinese smartphone in just the past few months, following Huawei Technologies’ success with the Mate 60 Pro. Huawei is unlisted, but investors have been snapping up shares of its suppliers.

While Xiaomi’s stock has surged on the stellar 14 series orders, some analysts say it is poised to climb even higher. Electric vehicles and the so-called “artificial intelligence of things” (AIoT) are seen as potential additional catalysts.

“We believe there is a trading opportunity in the next six months with smartphone and AIoT growth turnarounds and early expectations building for Xiaomi’s electric vehicle foray,” JPMorgan Chase & Co analyst Gokul Hariharan wrote in a note last week, upgrading the stock to overweight. 

Other Wall Street firms including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have cited signs of an end to China’s smartphone downturn and a likely recovery into next year. Huawei’s surprisingly strong comeback has helped trigger Chinese consumer appetite for innovative local products.

“Huawei is clearly gaining ground rapidly following the new product launch featuring its unique camera function and satellite calling,” said GAM Investment Management fund manager Jian Shi Cortesi.

“iPhone sales are losing momentum in China at the moment, as many consumers don’t perceive much functionality improvement in the new iPhone.”

Xiaomi’s 14 series also sports an advanced camera, as well as the latest Qualcomm processor and an innovative operating system called HyperOS designed to connect the smartphone to autos, appliances and other AIoT devices.

While Huawei is likely to gain the most share among Chinese brands in the current smartphone cycle, Xiaomi’s technology should help it fend off rivals including Oppo and Vivo into next year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Tseng. “In addition, the potential growth opportunity in overseas markets will be in favour of Xiaomi, which has the best overseas presence among all Chinese phone vendors,” he said.

The rally in Xiaomi’s shares since the 14 series’ release has pushed them into overbought territory, technicals suggest. But market watchers say the shares could ride further on catalysts including Singles’ Day and results for the third quarter due next Monday.

“Xiaomi is the only top five smartphone brand to see shipment increases both quarter on quarter and year on year in Q3 2023 as it strengthened its positions in key markets such as China and India,” Counterpoint Research wrote in a note.

The company notched “historical high” gross merchandise value for Singles’ Day, helped by strong performance for the 14 series, Goldman Sachs Group analyst Timothy Moe wrote in a note.

There are other ways to trade the idea too, as – like with Apple and Huawei – Xiaomi has its own ecosystem of suppliers. Among key component makers for Xiaomi, mainland-listed Will Semiconductor and OFILM Group have both climbed in the past month. BLOOMBERG

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