Xiaomi Now Opening Up Shop In The US, But Sans Smartphones, Tablets For Now
Five years after its inception, Xiaomi is now opening up shop in the United States and Europe. But unfortunately for prospective buyers of the Chinese phone maker's handsets, Xiaomi is not yet including its smartphones and tablets.
Xiaomi is in the process of launching an online store for American buyers, but it appears that this online store will only offer mostly mobile phone accessories, including a pair of portable battery packs, Mi Headphones ($80), and the Mi Band activity tracker ($15). Online stores in other European regions, especially in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, will also follow suit immediately after.
Xiaomi was founded relatively recently in 2010, and is a company sticks to a rather unique business model, which basically revolves around the idea of selling over a thousand products at or near cost. Mobile users may be familiar with this China-based phone maker's smartphones and tablets, but Xiaomi actually also manufactures and sells a diverse range of products, from electronic gadgets and to even stuffed animals
In terms of the mobile market, Xiaomi has certainly established itself as one of the best selling phone makers in its native China. The company achieved this by mainly introducing inexpensive smartphones in emerging markets, such as its home country and India.
Xiaomi's ensuing success was as big as it was sudden. And the company is already reeling in venture capital funding. By the end of last year, Xiaomi had became the most valuable startup in the world, after raising an additional $1.1 billion, which gave it a total valuation of $45 billion.
Naturally, as a growing presence in the world of mobile, Xiaomi is starting to look beyond its fence to other markets, like South America (the company will begin selling smartphones in Brazil in the coming months) and of course, the US, one of the biggest mobile markets in the world (that is, apart from China).
The Chinese phone maker certainly has the guts and the capability. Just this April, for example, Xiaomi sold 2 million units of its smartphones (powered by Google's Android mobile operating system) in only 12 hours. Not only that, the company also managed to ship 13.4 million units of smartphones in the Chinese market, which now puts it behind first place Apple who shipped 14.5 million units of iPhones in China during the same period.
All well and good in its home country, but the US is an entirely different territory. For one, the competition is more varied. Xiaomi's Mi Band activity tracker will now have to compete with the very popular Apple Watch in vying for buyers' attention. Two, there is the issue of familiarity. Are US consumers familiar enough with Xiaomi products to be interested in buying them? That remains to be seen for now.