Xioami, the Chinese company that has experienced explosive growth over the last couple of years is slowly, steadily expanding into the West. They’ve already started to lay the groundwork of building their brand presence in the US and Europe by opening up an accessories store, selling things like power banks, headphones and more. That’s all fine and well, but we’re all waiting to see when we can buy a device like the excellent Mi Note (pictured above) outside of China. Speaking during Re/code’s Code Conference earlier this week, Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra has said that bringing smartphones to the US is part of their strategy, but there’s no concrete date set for this expansion.
For Xiaomi, Barra says that they want to make sure they have the right customer service in place before they start selling devices to customers in the United States. If one thing’s true about Western buyers compared to those in China and other Asian countries is that we expect more customer service with our products. For Xiaomi to be focusing on this key aspect of selling devices to customers shows that they’re playing the long game, and that they’d rather do something right, than do it at all. Other concerns surround patent litigation. Xiaomi has often been criticised for “aping” Apple’s iOS platform, however these days it seems nobody can produce anything after Apple has launched a similar product. In China, there’s very little patent enforcement, and expanding into the West might give Xiaomi a shock.
Hugo Barra has quickly become the face of Xiaomi, and it’s become clear that hiring him was perhaps the smartest decision Xiaomi has ever made. A man that understands the business and what is required to build relationships with customers and bolster an already strong brand, Barra will be the driving force behind expansion further West over the coming years. We’ve reviewed devices like the Mi Note, accessories like the Mi Band which Xiaomi say they’re selling One Million of and we’ve been impressed with them all. What’s in store for Xiaomi and the US smartphone market in the future is still unclear, but it sure sounds exciting.