Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi files for Hong Kong IPO

Xiaomi Corp. smartphones are displayed at a company store in Handan Hebei province on March 28

Xiaomi, one of the world's biggest smartphone makers, has filed to go public in Hong Kong in what's expected to be a massive IPO. Some recent reports have suggested the IPO could put its valuation around $100 billion, but a person familiar with the company's plans to go public told CNNMoney that it would be lower than that.

The Chinese company submitted documents Thursday to list shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Xiaomi submitted a heavily redacted filing to the Hong Kong exchange late on Wednesday laying out its financial details in what appeared to set the stage for a full IPO announcement. It made a net loss of 43.89 billion yuan versus a profit of 491.6 million yuan in 2016, though this was impacted by the fair value changes of convertible redeemable preference shares.

But the company said that 8.6 percent of its revenue and 39.3 percent of gross profit previous year came from Internet services such as advertising and gaming on its MIUI user interface, which had 190 million monthly active users at the end of March. Excluding those, operating profit reached 12.2 billion yuan. "A bigger hardware user base will translate to stronger profitability from services and at the ecosystem end".

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi was the fifth biggest smartphone maker in the world a year ago, shipping more than 92 million devices, according to research firm IDC.

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While Xiaomi continued to expand its product portfolio to include more smart home devices and lifestyle products, it had also been working hard on expanding its physical presence around the world.

Lei scaled back global operations and instead focused on India, where it's now the top seller alongside Samsung.

Alongside smartphones, Xiaomi makes dozens of internet-connected home appliances and gadgets, including scooters, air purifiers and rice cookers, although it derives most of its profits from internet services.

Challenges persist: It's unclear if Xiaomi can really convince USA wireless carriers to sell its phones amid trade tensions with China. Chinese phone shipments dropped 21 percent last quarter from the year before, Canalys said. In India - the most promising market for Xiaomi - the intensified competition from the newbies, likes of Vivo, put the company on toes.

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