The bet between Lei Jun and Dong Mingzhu dated back to December 12, 2013. Handout.

Lei Jun, chief executive of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, appears to have lost a 1 billion yuan (US$ 149 million) bet to Gree Electric chairwoman Dong Mingzhu, as Xiaomi failed to outdo Gree in revenue within five years.

The wager dated back to December 12, 2013, when the two high-profile entrepreneurs were both awarded “people of economic achievement of the year” on TV.

Lei Jun asked 1 yuan from Dong Mingzhu if Xiaomi could exceed Gree in revenue within five years. Dong immediately accepted the challenge, but the bet soon lifted to 1 billion yuan.

According to Xiaomi’s earning release on March 19, it recorded total revenue of 174.9 billion yuan in 2018. But, as earlier announced, Gree’s revenue for the year was about 200 billion yuan.

Xiaomi lost the bet clearly. Although the two have been taking the bet less serious, will Lei really pay the price?

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