Chinese electronics company Xiaomi has announced its plans to spend more than 10bn yuan ($1.5bn) on AI, AIoT (the combination of AI and IoT) and smart devices over the next five years. The announcement was made by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun to the company's employees and also in a report by Bloomberg Television.
This move from Xiaomi aligns with China's goals of becoming the world's dominant force in AI in coming years. Xiaomi is now the world's fourth-largest smartphone company and is in an ideal position to leverage its resources to advance innovation in AI and IoT.
Jun did not elaborate on how exactly Xiaomi plans to spend the $1.5bn beyond his passing comment to Bloomberg TV: "Now is the time for the action. We are all in on AIoT". However, smartphone sales are plateauing across the board and the need to diversify is a concern being addressed by many firms in the industry. Samsung unveiled a similar plan in August 2018 to invest $20bn in emerging technologies and Apple recently announced it would be cutting back production of its iPhones in order to refocus on healthcare.
Despite Xiaomi's meteoric success in the smartphone field, it has not been immune from economic pressures, such as those resulting from the ongoing trade war between China and the US. The firm's stock plummeted by 40% after its initial public offering in July 2018, so this latest move by Xiaomi may provide some insulation for the firm and allow it to prepare for the expected uptick in smartphone sales once 5G becomes more popular.