China's Xiaomi names DST partner Chew as chief financial officer

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing-based smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc said on Wednesday it has hired private equity investor Shou Zi Chew as chief financial officer, further bolstering its executive ranks in a period of rapid international expansion.

Chew, the Hong Kong-based partner of DST Investment Management Ltd, first helped the prominent late-stage technology fund invest in Xiaomi in 2011.

Chew’s appointment comes at a critical juncture as Xiaomi, one of the world’s most richly valued private tech companies at $45 billion, looks to expand its footprint in the global marketplace with recent high-profile debuts in India and Brazil.

The four-year-old handset maker, which has swept through the Chinese market with its combination of affordability and chic design, is looking to replicate its success in other large developing markets to justify the $45 billion valuation it received in December from investors including DST, Hopu Investment Management and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Xiaomi last month named San Diego chip giant Qualcomm Inc’s China head Wang Xiang as senior vice president to handle the company’s burgeoning overseas partnerships.

Chew, one of several bankers who left Goldman Sachs’ London office in the late 2000s to join Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST, has been involved in the fund’s investment in e-commerce firms Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Inc, as well as Didi Dache, China’s leading ride-hailing app.

Although DST’s investment in Xiaomi originated from Milner’s longstanding relationship with Xiaomi co-founder and chief executive Lei Jun, Chew, a Singaporean national known for his analytical skills, has been a key behind-the-scenes booster for Xiaomi during recent capital-raising deals.

In a statement, Xiaomi’s Lei described Chew as a successful investor with unique insights and financial skills who “recognized Xiaomi’s value early on.”

Editing by Christopher Cushing