Xiaomi is coming to Ireland, Three confirms

8 May 2018

Xiaomi bags in Belarus. Image: AleksandrKon/Shutterstock

Xiaomi’s smartphones are taking the world by storm and are soon to go on sale in Ireland.

Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi will soon become a recognisable brand in Ireland with plans by mobile operator Three to begin selling the devices as part of a partnership.

Known as ‘China’s Apple’, Xiaomi is an eight-year-old tech player on the verge of becoming a $100bn giant if plans to IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange come to fruition.

‘Three is excited about our partnership with Xiaomi, and plans are in development to launch the brand in Ireland’

The company, ranked as the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, makes high-quality smartphones and other products such as notebooks and TVs at affordable prices.

Xiaomi: The tech giant that came from the east

Xiaomi has been cementing its position in Asia, most notably in China and India where it rivals Samsung, and has been gingerly stepping into the European market, starting with Spain and Belarus.

It emerged last week that Xiaomi will begin selling smartphones in the UK under a partnership with Hong Kong-headquartered Hutchison Whampoa’s Three mobile network.

Asked if this will extend to Ireland, a spokesperson for Three responded: “Three is excited about our partnership with Xiaomi, and plans are in development to launch the brand in Ireland.”

The move will add considerable spice to the Irish smartphone market, which is pretty much a race between California’s Apple, South Korea’s Samsung, China’s Huawei, Taiwan’s HTC and China’s Lenovo-owned Motorola as well as Japan’s Sony.

It recently emerged that Xiaomi is planning to raise $10bn through an IPO in Hong Kong that could value it at $100bn, making it the third-biggest Chinese tech company by value after Tencent Holdings and Alibaba.

The company was only founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun. After building its first Android-based firmware MIUI, its first smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi 1, followed a year later.

Since then, the company has expanded to make tablet computers, laptops and smart TVs, and keeps its prices low by keeping a tight control on stock and executing online flash sales.

The company sold 27m smartphones in the first quarter of 2018, which is interesting when you consider established tech giant Apple sold 52.2m in the same quarter.

In terms of smartphones, Xiaomi launched the Mi 6X smartphone recently and, just a few weeks prior to that, the Mi Mix 2S model. Both phones are 5.9in Android devices that vie with the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Huawei P20 Pro in terms of features and build.

Xiaomi bags in Belarus. Image: AleksandrKon/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years