Xiaomi, maker of the popular MI-One smartphone, is close to completing its third round of fundraising after receiving a contribution from Russia-based DST, which previously invested in Facebook Inc (Nasdaq: FB) and 360buy.com, a leading Chinese B2C platform, a person with knowledge of the issue said.
Founded only a year ago, Xiaomi is now evaluated to be worth as much as $4 billion, close to Research In Motion Ltd's (Nasdaq: RIMM) $5.4 billion market capitalization or 40% of Nokia Corp's (NYSE: NOK) market capitalization.
Xiaomi received a total of $131 million in its first two fundraising rounds.
It has sold more than 1.8 million ¥1,999 handsets since September, including 1.4 million sold during the first five months of this year.
Xiaomi also customizes phones for China Unicom Ltd (NYSE: CHU, SHA: 600050, HKG: 0762), which then offers the phone for free with prepaid credit.
Beyong its website, Xiaomi phones are also available at China Unicom's 3,500 offices and over 1,000 cooperatives.