GoPro could have a Chinese owner -- Xiaomi.
The Information reports that the smartphone maker is considering an offer to buy GoPro, which has struggled with competition as a glut of cheaper competitors have entered the action camera market -- including one backed by Xiaomi itself.
The bulk of GoPro’s sales comes from its home country, but it’s long eyed China as a key market. CEO Nick Woodman said in 2015 that he believes the company has “every opportunity to succeed in China.” Since then, GoPro has opened official stores on major e-commerce sites like Taobao and JD.com, and also distributes through offline electronics stores.
GoPro also has channels on the country’s biggest video sites. Last November, Woodman even appeared in one on Youku to introducing the GoPro Hero6 for Single’s Day, China’s annual online shopping event that’s now the biggest in the world.
It’s not clear whether GoPro will become a part of Xiaomi or one of the many companies in what it calls the “Xiaomi ecosystem,” a network of companies it has stakes in. The smaller companies benefit from being associated with a major company like Xiaomi, which promotes their products and sells them in their stores. And Xiaomi gets to build a wide variety of products without having to design and build them in-house.
One of those companies is Xiaoyi -- which already makes a line of GoPro rivals called Yi Camera. The latest model costs just half the price of the GoPro Hero6.
Some argue that a tie-up with a Chinese company could help GoPro lower its production cost and at the same time keep its brand. Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan wrote that Xiaomi could help GoPro diversify its products.
And it could help Xiaomi as it tries to expand globally, by having a recognized American brand in its portfolio. That could also help Xiaomi increase get access to retailers in the US, a market that it’s aiming to expand to in the future.