One small step for Xiaomi as it makes entry into US market

13 Feb 2015

Xiaomi's Mi4 handset

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is taking its first small step into the US market to take on Apple by launching its range of accessories that could lead to direct sales of devices for the first time.

Xiaomi, which is just a little over five years old, has established itself as one of the frontrunners in the Chinese smartphone market and now sees its biggest rivals across the Pacific Ocean with Apple and its continuing hold on the North American market.

According to Reuters, the company is starting small to test the market by releasing its range of headphones, as well as its range of smart wristbands, but with the obvious exception of its range of Mi phones, which have been selling like hotcakes in its native China.

As part of Xiaomi’s plans to expand its international sales, the company has confirmed it is in talks to open its first international production plant in Brazil in a bid to escape expensive importing tariffs. Xiaomi has also already established the Latin American country as the first international country to sell Xiaomi products.

The company’s decision to smart small is a wise financial move, given that Apple has effectively made the US its fortress at a time when it just posted its financial results showing it to have had the most profitable quarter ever with revenues of US$74.6bn.

Xiaomi itself has shown incredible growth, given the short space of time it has been in existence. Its most recent valuation placed the company somewhere in the region of US$45bn.

US customers will be able to purchase its accessory range in a few months’ time through the URL, but Xiaomi still has to determine how it can introduce its affordable phones into a market where the vast majority of them are sold through established carriers.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic