Xiaomi founder lands £735m bonus - and plans to donate it to charity

Xiaomi
Xiaomi founder Lei Jun Credit: Bloomberg

Lei Jun, the founder of smartphone giant Xiaomi, called China's Steve Jobs, has secured a £735m bonus on the back of his eight years of “devotion” to the company.

Mr Jun, who founded Xiaomi in 2010, took home the bonus in the wake of the company’s $53bn (£40bn) stock market listing in Hong Kong last year.

Xiaomi is one of China’s largest producers of smartphones, outstripping sales of rivals like the iPhone in the country and launching its products around the world over the last year, including into the UK.

Mr Jun said he would pledge the bonus to charity. The bonus was almost as much as Xiaomi made in profit over the last year, when it made around £1bn.

The reward came as a result of a one-off payment of 636 million shares awarded to Mr Jun based on its current share price.

However, the reward could have been significantly more if not for a six month slide in Xiaomi’s value of around 30pc.

Xiaomi initially stated in early 2018 that it planned to list with a market value of as much as $100bn.

That slipped to around $53bn by the time of its listing in August and has since fallen to around $30bn. Had Xiaomi held its value, Mr Jun's shares could be worth closer to £1bn.

Xiaomi announced the stock award package ahead of its listing last year, claiming Mr Jun knew nothing about the plan.

The bonus came as Xiaomi reported around £5bn  in revenues for 2018, a 26pc increase on the previous year.

The Chinese company has launched its phones around the world, including in the UK with Three Mobile.

Mr Jun, 49, has been compared to Apple founder Steve Jobs, although he has previously said that while he would have been “honoured” he “[doesn't] want to be considered second to anyone”.

In 2010 he founded Xiaomi, along with several former Google and Motorola engineers. Mr Jun said the company was built to design phones that “we would personally love”.

Mr Jun's decision to give his stock award to charity might be seen as unusual, but Xiaomi has several rules that are less than common for major companies.

Xiaomi has set a profit cap written into its listing documents. The company claims it will give any excess profit from its smartphone business over 5pc back to users. The company a profit margin of 1pc in 2018.