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Xiaomi inks multi-year patent deal with Nokia

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-06 07:51

Xiaomi Corp has acquired a slate of patents from Nokia Corp as the Chinese smartphone vendor steps up efforts to accelerate its global expansion.

The two sides said on Wednesday they had signed a multi-year patent agreement, including a cross license for each company's cellular standard essential patents. Xiaomi also acquired patent assets from Nokia as part of the transaction.

Xiaomi, whose products and services are available in 30 countries and regions, is ramping up efforts to expand its overseas presence. The intellectual property partnership with Nokia, once the world's biggest phone maker, can help it tackle potential legal disputes overseas.

Xiaomi did not disclose details of the patents it acquired or how much the deal was worth.

The move came after Xiaomi purchased around 1,500 patents from Microsoft Corp last year to expand its technology portfolio.

Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi, said: "Our cooperation with Nokia will enable us to tap into its leading position in building large, high performance networks, as well as its formidable strength in software and services."

The two sides also signed a business cooperation agreement, under which Nokia will provide network infrastructure equipment designed to deliver the high capacity, low power requirements expected by large web providers and data center operators.

Xiaomi and Nokia have also agreed to explore opportunities for further cooperation in areas such as the internet of things, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

"Xiaomi is one of the world's leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with them," Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement.

The move came as Xiaomi faces mounting competition from rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Oppo Electronics Corp. Once the biggest smartphone vendor in China, Xiaomi slipped to the fifth place in the first quarter, based on Chinese phone data compiled by market research firm International Data Corp.

The Beijing-based company is working hard to revive its business through both heavy investment in brick-and-mortar retail channels and intensified spending on exploring overseas opportunities. It currently focuses on emerging markets such as India, Russia and Indonesia.

Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of telecom industry website, said: "The vast telecom patents accumulated by Nokia will greatly facilitate Xiaomi's foray into overseas markets, but the latter still needs to pour more resources into in-house research and development to achieve long-term and robust growth."

Beyond smartphones, Xiaomi is now also scrambling to tap into opportunities brought by the internet of things. The company said its IoT platform has 60 million connected devices, and more than 8 million of these are daily active devices.

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