Chinese device maker off to wobbly start but Lei Jun confident his company can ‘distinguish itself’

Xiaomi shares got off to a rocky start in their first day of trading on Monday, with the CEO laying the blame on the US-China trade war.

The Chinese device maker’s Hong Kong IPO raised HK$37 billion (US$4.7 billion/€4 billion), with shares priced at the low end of its HK$17-HK$22 range. According to data from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx), Xiaomi’s share price plunged during the first hour of trading to a low of HK$16.020 (€1.73), before recovering again to HK$16.98. At the time of writing, its shares were changing hands for HK$16.60.

"At this critical moment in Sino-US trade relations, the global capital markets are in constant flux," said Xiaomi CEO and founder Lei Jun, in comments made at the HKEx that were reported by CNN.

Tit-for-tat tariffs imposed on numerous goods travelling in both directions between the US and China has led to investor anxiety.

Nonetheless, Lei insisted that "although macroeconomic conditions are far from ideal, we believe a great company can still rise to the challenge and distinguish itself."

Indeed, according to Gartner, Xiaomi’s share of global smartphone sales increased to 7.4% in the first quarter of 2018 from 3.4% a year earlier, with volumes more than doubling to 28.5 million from 12.7 million.