Xiaomi founder Lei Jun loses RMB 1 billion bet to Gree chairwoman

But will he pay out?

Credit: DFIC

Chinese home appliance maker Gree announced on Sunday evening that its annual revenue for 2018 was RMB 198.1 billion, up 33.6% from 2017. That spells bad news for Xiaomi’s founder, Lei Jun.

In 2013, Lei was emboldened by his smartphone business and bet Gree boss Dong Mingzhu one yuan that Xiaomi’s revenue would surpass that of Gree in five years’ time.

Known for her flamboyant streak, Dong upped the ante to RMB 1 billion (USD 148.5 million).

Though known for its smartphones and electronic gadgets, Xiaomi also sells white goods. It utilizes a fabless business model and contracts out all manufacturing to OEMs, while Gree operates its own factories.

Xiaomi’s revenue for 2018 was RMB 174.9 billion—just a little over 23 billion yuan short to win the bet.

It is not immediately clear if or when Lei Jun will honor the wager. When asked about the bet last month, Lei told reporters that he had been in touch with Dong. “I’m still waiting for Gree’s financial report,” he said.