Xiaomi wants to make moves globally, not just in China. They are already the fifth most popular smartphone manufacturer in China, beating out HTC in surveys last month. Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun discussed his aspirations for moving in to the U.S. market recently, but admitted that the company isn't quite ready to make the leap.
International smartphone users are itching to get their hands on Xiaomi's Android phones. I would love to test out the Mi3 and see what it's all about. The Chinese smartphone company is taking its time though. They want to make sure everything is right and that they are well-prepared before taking the plunge into international waters. Take this quote from Tech Sina:
"Of course the U.S. is a market we're extremely excited about. But until we make ample preparations, we won't be entering the U.S. market."
Xiaomi has a systematic plan in place for testing foreign smartphone markets. The company's marketing strategy seems to be pretty data driven. They beta test new markets, tracking retail and supply chains. For now, Xiaomi is only moving in to Hong Kong and Taiwan as initial test markets. They are watching closely to see how Xiaomi devices compete with products from HTC, Samsung, and Lenovo.
Since Hugo Barra joined the company from Google, interest has increased in regards to international expansion. Immediate plans seem to include expanding into English speaking countries, but neither Barra nor Jun is confirming the that. Xiaomi smartphones are trickling into other markets via resellers online, and the company wants to increase those sales. Forums and fan sites have popped up all over the internet where fans can follow what Xiaomi is doing and purchase phones through back channels. The company is monitoring these hot spots closely, and in some cases is working directly with them. Doing this allows them to see where there is interest and plan for growth accordingly.
A lot of the pressure for growth is on Hugo Barra. What he does over the next few months will be watched closely by the tech community and the rest of the world. Even though Xiaomi sold out of its new flagship, the Mi3, in less than 90 seconds, the company doesn't have much room to make mistakes. Some of their challenges revolve around their business model and the low-margin, high-volume sales techniques they use. Customer service and user feedback will also need to improve. Only time will tell if Xiaomi can make this important shift and bring their products to the rest of the world.