Xiaomi Corp is working on a water purifier as it expands its range of home products that can becontrolled through the Internet, according to an early investor in the company.
The company has shown some backers a prototype of the new purifier, said Jenny Lee,managing partner at GGV Capital, an early investor in China's largest smartphone vendor.Xiaomi spokeswoman Joy Han declined to comment on products that have not been announced.
Xiaomi said on Monday that its valuation rose to $45 billion, following a $1.1 billion funding roundthat included investors such as billionaire Yuri Milner's DST, Singapore's GIC Pte and All-StarsInvestment Ltd. Belief in Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun's ability to push from smartphones intohome electronics was one reason investors valued the Beijing-based company so highly, Leesaid.
"They have a product pipeline," Lee said on Tuesday. "Going forward it's not just going to be theXiaomi phone or the TV. The upside and the investment around Xiaomi is the hope they can getinto the smart home."
Xiaomi will unveil a new "flagship product" next month, Lei said in a statement on Monday,without supplying further details. GGV's Lee did not say if the water purifier would be that product.
Lei this month unveiled an air purifier for homes that sends pollution readings to mobile phonesand alerts users when its filter is dirty. The purifier was designed by Zhimi, which Lei said wasone of the 25 startups in which Xiaomi has invested.
The company on Dec 18 also began selling a lightbulb designed by another startup calledYeelight that can change colors by remote control.
Xiaomi, which means millet in Chinese, was founded in 2010 to make software for mobiledevices running Google Inc's Android system. The company subsequently released productsincluding a tablet computer, a television set-top box and televisions that connect to the Web.
The lightbulb and air and water purifiers show how Xiaomi can invest in startups to expand itsproduct line and push further into the home, GGV's Lee said.
The market for Internet-connected appliances will grow to $7.1 trillion by 2020, according to IDC.
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