Facebook almost invested in Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, according to a new report from Reuters—but a deal never came to fruition.
The discussions are said to have taken place during Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to Beijing in October—when the Facebook CEO made headlines for his fluency in Mandarin. At a private dinner, according to Reuters‘s sources, Zuckerberg spoke with Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun about the political and commercial possibilities of a Facebook investment in the company, which might have given the social network a new foothold in China, where it is currently blocked from online usage.
Despite Zuckerberg’s proven track record of bold bets on companies ranging from WhatsApp to Instagram, his considered investment in Xiaomi was reportedly “not huge.”
Ultimately, the investment discussions never formalized—apparently due to Xiaomi’s concern that its dealings with Facebook might not only negatively affect its standing in China, but also that it could hurt its relationship with Google, which supports Xiaomi’s hardware through its Android mobile operation system.
Not that Xioami needed Facebook’s capital. The company recently announced a $1.1 billion round of funding from investors that include Hong Kong-based tech fund All Stars Investment, private equity firm DST Global, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital.