Xiaomi’s no longer just a startup. Known as the Apple of China, China’s largest privately funded startup is preparing to enter the US market, according to Bloomberg.
Even just a few years ago, Xiaomi was simply an unknown company outside China. And what took off as a startup became one of the top three smartphone makers in 2014. With its beautifully-crafted handsets that cost less than $400, it makes sense that Xiaomi saw the huge success it did.
One inconvenience for the majority of consumers across the world is that Xiaomi’s primary markets are limited to China, India, and Indonesia. Well, according to the company’s Vice President Hugo Barra, the Beijing-based company may add the US to its list “in the near future.”
The U.S. is a market that we definitely have in our sights. We will lead with social media, with the channels that allow us to get in touch with the young generation that are enthusiastic about new technology. We are definitely going there.
Xiaomi’s US launch has been talked about for quite some time now. Back in June, the company announced a partnership deal with Microsoft in which it cross-licensed some 1,500 patents that could help with its US expansion. And Xiaomi’s Mi Store already offers various non-smartphone products in the US.
It makes sense that Xiaomi is eyeing on the highly lucrative US market. It’s facing some stiff competition from fellow Chinese manufacturers back home, with reports estimating a 38% year-over-year decrease in its smartphone shipments in China this past quarter.
However, breaking into the heavily-saturated US market may be challenging for Xiaomi. The market is dominated by Samsung and Apple, and most smartphone sales happen through carriers. For a company like Xiaomi that operates mainly via online retails, limited experience with carrier distribution could pose as a huge obstacle.
Xiaomi knows this, and that’s why it is so cautious when it comes to the US market:
The U.S. is a very important market for any consumer electronics and lifestyle brand, certainly for us as well. Obviously we’ve got to time things carefully.
Although it is reported that Xiaomi will bring another non-smartphone product to the US in October, its smartphones probably won’t make their debut until next year. So “near future” probably doesn’t mean that soon, unfortunately.
Would you consider getting a Xiaomi phone when it launches in the US? Let us know in the comments below!