Xiaomi is second only to Uber in terms of how much people are anticipating its IPO, and although CEO Lei Jun has made it abundantly clear that his company isn’t preparing to go public, he admitted for the first time on Thursday that Xiaomi is at least considering an IPO. He reaffirmed his belief that Xiaomi shouldn’t go public anytime soon, but since there are plenty of employees and investors that don’t share that belief, he said the company hasn’t ruled out an IPO.
Over and over again, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has emphasized that his company is not preparing an IPO. Just a few of months ago he echoed his well-known refrain: “Xiaomi has no plans to IPO in the next five years.” On Wednesday, for the first time ever, he said something different. In a speech, Lei said: “Xiaomi has been around for six years now. I personally have a few companies listed overseas. Later, when Kingsoft listed on the A-shares market, it was very painful for me. And personally I don’t have a strong reason to want [Xiaomi] to IPO. I never started IPO procedures because I feel business hasn’t stabilized. I’m considering following Alibaba’s lead, and setting up an internal options trading system to incentivize employees while we haven’t listed. But because we have investors and employees, Xiaomi is not ruling out an IPO. “Not ruling out an IPO” – that’s a pretty far cry from filing a prospectus with the SEC, but it’s still the closest Lei Jun has ever come to saying a listing is in the company’s near-term plans. And with a less-than-stellar 2015 performance suggesting that Xiaomi’s days of high-speed growth could be over, Lei may now have both employees and investors saying it’s time to cash out.”