SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp on Tuesday reported a bigger-than-expected 21.4% rise in fourth-quarter revenue, as industry shipments of handsets slowly tick up following a global chip shortage and the peak of the pandemic.
“In 2021 we experienced a very complex situation,” Xiaomi president Wang Xiang said in an earnings call.
“Supply is in a very severe or tight position, and there is a geopolitical impact. However, Xiaomi’s performance has shown we are a resilient company.”
Revenue rose to 85.58 billion yuan ($13.45 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with 70.46 billion yuan in the year earlier period and analyst expectations for 81.80 billion yuan, according to Refinitiv data.
Smartphone shipments rose 4.4% to 44.1 million units in the quarter, Xiaomi said in a statement.
Net income rose 39.6% to 4.47 billion yuan, also above analyst expectations.
In an earnings call, Wang said that ensuring a steady supply of chips was still challenging in the first quarter of 2022, but expected the situation to improve by June.
The company, which gets the vast majority of its revenue from selling mobile handsets, said smartphone revenue rose 18.4% to 50.5 billion yuan ($7.94 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31.
Last year, Xiaomi grabbed market share in its home market China away from Huawei, which lost its smartphone momentum after the United States placed export restrictions on its suppliers. But Huawei spinoff Honor came back strong in the second half of 2021, finishing the fourth quarter with a 16% market share in China – the same as Xiaomi – according to data from Canalys.
Xiaomi’s fourth-quarter smartphone shipments in China rose 10%, according to research firm Canalys. Globally, its shipments rose 5%.
Slowing handset demand in China, the company’s largest market, has prompted Xiaomi to look for new opportunities.
The company is slated to invest $10 billion over the next ten years into making electric cars, which it hopes to bring to market by 2024.
The company has also ramped up investments in chips, relasing its first device with a self-developed image signal processor.
Wang said that investments in chips would go into areas “directly related to user experience,” such as fast charging.
Xiaomi has also expanded its brick-and-mortar retail footprint, in hopes of attracting more customers.
Xiaomi reported a 33.5% rise in 2021 revenue, which hit 328.3 billion yuan ($51.59 billion), versus an average analyst estimate of 325.862 billion yuan.
($1 = 6.3638 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Josh Horwitz, Editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)
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