China's Xiaomi aims to double smart home device sales this year to $1.54 billion

China's Xiaomi Redmi 2 smartphones are displayed to the media during their launch in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc aims to double sales of smart home technology devices like rice cookers and air purifiers this year, the company’s vice president said on Thursday, as it accelerates diversification of business lines to cope with the saturation of smartphones at home and abroad.

Xiaomi expects sales of smart home devices to reach 10 billion yuan ($1.54 billion) this year, up from 5 billion yuan a year ago, said the company’s vice president Liu De, speaking to reporters at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

Liu also said the company, previously known for its online-focus sales model, plans to raise the number of its bricks-and-mortar retail stores in China to 60.

Xiaomi was ranked fifth in global smartphone shipment in the first quarter of 2016, according to research firm TrendForce.

($1 = 6.4905 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Writing by Yimou Lee; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell