China's fourth-largest smartphone vendor is turning its sights on the lucrative U.S. market.
(CCM) — Chinese electronics company Xiaomi is planning an assault on the U.S. smartphone market with its range of Android handsets as early as this year, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
"We’ve always been considering entering the U.S. market," Lei Jun, Xiaomi's chairman, said in the report. "We plan to start entering the market by end 2018, or by early 2019."
The company is China's fourth-largest smartphone vendor (after Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo), selling an astonishing 96 million units last year. But until now it has only targeted selected export markets in Asia and Europe, including India and Spain. In the U.S. its offerings have until now been restricted to internet-connected devices such as electronic scales, cameras, and speakers.
But in order to succeed in the U.S., market Xiaomi will have to strike a deal with a carrier. This could prove problematic in the current climate: AT&T recently cancelled its plans to offer Huawei's Mate 10 smartphone because of national security concerns: the company was founded by an officer in the China's People's Liberation Army. Other Chinese companies may also be viewed with suspicion.
In China the company's sales rose by 50% last year, enabling it to outsell Apple and Samsung. But Xiaomi will face much stiffer competition from these two in the U.S., where they are the ranked first and second by smartphone sales.
Image: © Xiaomi