Xiaomi’s international operations may be going from strength to strength, but the company is unlikely to bring its smartphones to the US anytime soon. That’s according to Xiaomi’s charismatic global VP and former Googler, Mr. Hugo Barra, who clarified during a recent interview that the Chinese tech firm doesn’t have any specific plans for an U.S. launch at this point in time. Talking to the media on the sidelines of the CES 2017 trade show in Las Vegas yesterday, Mr. Barra however, claimed that the company does plan to make it to the U.S. eventually, although he refused to give any specific time frame on that.
While Xiaomi does sell its accessories in the United States, its much talked-about smartphones like the futuristic Mi MIX phablet continue to remain off-limits for Americans. With its sales in China declining 12% last year, Xiaomi has been overtaken by Huawei, OPPO and Vivo on the sales charts in its home country, and can ill-afford to keep out of the highly-lucrative US market if it has to make up for the declining volume at home. However, Mr. Barra says that Xiaomi’s current focus is on its home market, and the company doesn’t want to enter the US in a half-hearted manner. That being the case, the former Googler refused to give even any approximate time frame for when Xiaomi might start thinking about bringing at least some of its smartphones to the country.
While Xiaomi has been a major player in the Chinese smartphone market for several years, its expansion into international markets is a comparatively recent phenomenon. It was back in 2014 when the company’s affable co-founder, Mr. Lei Jun, decided to take a punt on the Indian smartphone market, lured by the high rate of growth in the neighboring nation. That little gambit has now turned into a massive success story for Xiaomi, with the Indian market now accounting for a significant chunk of the company’s shipments. Xiaomi has also expanded to other large emerging markets, such as Brazil and Russia, although China continues to remain the largest market for its smartphones, wearables and smart home appliances.