China’s largest smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has announced plans to enter the South American market with a proposed foray into Brazil within the next three months. It will be the ninth market for Xiaomi worldwide, and the first one outside of continental Asia. Brazil will be an entirely new challenge for Xiaomi with different market dynamics, but the one thing that might challenge them more than anything else is the inordinately high taxation regime for imported goods. Which is why, Xiaomi says they intend to manufacture devices locally to gain a cost advantage. Towards that end, Xiaomi is already looking to work closely with their partner Foxconn, who already operates manufacturing facilities in the South American nation. Xiaomi’s Vice President of International Operations Mr. Hugo Barra himself is a Brazilian national, which might aid the Chinese OEM navigate the terrains of a hostile market with excessively protectionist policies.
Over the last year, Xiaomi has looked to spread its wings outside of its home base of China with fairly impressive results. In India especially, Xiaomi has already managed to sell over a million phones in just six months of doing business, making India the second-largest market for Xiaomi after China. Alongside India, Xiaomi has also branched out to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2014. It has also announced ambitious plans to expand to Turkey, Russia, and Mexico. Xiaomi is also looking for a foothold in the lucrative American market, where its smartphones have virtually been shut out, thanks largely to stringent patent regulations. However rather than laying low and sulking, earlier this year Xiaomi said that it would open an online store in the US to sell its line of accessories including smart wearables, power banks and headphones. Xiaomi’s famed smartphones though, would still stay out of reach of American consumers for the foreseeable future.
It is worth remembering that last December, Xiaomi received a $1.1 billion funding, which valued the five year old start-up at around $45 billion. The company is expected to sell between 80 million to 100 million smartphones this year according to analyst estimate, having sold as many as 61 million last year, mostly in China.