Xiaomi has beaten its own expectations by selling over 61 million smartphones in 2014 - more than three times the number it sold in 2013.

The Chinese startup generated revenue of ¥74.3 billion ($12bn; £7.8bn) in total during 2014 with smartphone sales rising from 18.7 million in 2013 to 61.1 million last year.

The company was clearly confident of hitting these heights when it predicted sales of 60 million as far back as March.

The remarkable achievement was revealed on Twitter by the company's head of global expansion and former Google executive Hugo Barra, who said:

It is unclear if the $12bn figure Barra mentions is just from smartphone sales, but industry analyst Benedict Evans tells IBTimesUK that smartphones make up almost all of the company's revenue to date, which means the average selling price of the company's phones is around $195

Xiaomi also sells other devices including tablets, TVs, set-top boxes and headphones - and if leaks are to be believed, it will soon be selling a MacBook Air-like laptop.

Barra also revealed that shipments of smartphones grew 227% year-on-year.

$45bn startup

Xiaomi sells smartphones which combine cutting edge hardware with a budget price and the company's own Mi software, which is a forked version of Android.

Xiaomi just last week announced that it had received a huge investment of £720m from a range of funds and investors. The investment values the company at around £30bn, meaning the company that sold its first smartphone just over three years ago has been heralded as the world's most valuable startup - taking the crown from Uber which has recently been valued at £26bn.

Xiaomi had a stellar 2014 rising in the third quarter of the year to become the third biggest smartphone seller in the world, behind well-known brands Apple and Samsung.

Xiaomi is likely to lose that position to compatriot Lenovo which has just recently completed the purchase of the Motorola brand. However Xiaomi remains the biggest smartphone brand in its home territory and only sells its smartphones in select countries in Asia - with a major expansion into India in 2014.

Many analysts expect more expansion in 2015, though a launch in western territories like the US and the UK is unlikely at this point.

The company is set to launch its latest flagship smartphone - dubbed the Mi 5 - this month, though a launch at CES 2015 which is kicking off in Las Vegas on Sunday has been ruled out by the company.