Xiaomi intends to bring its Android smartphones to the United States by early 2019 and may even release select models in the country as early as this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing the company's Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun. The executive didn't attach a more specific timeframe to those ambitions but his comments came shortly after Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang already confirmed the company's U.S. ambitions, revealing that the phone maker sees the stateside market as a potentially massive overseas growth generator.
The Beijing-based original equipment manufacturer has so far seen the largest foreign success in India which managed to completely revitalize its operations in 2017 following a troubled 2016 and majorly contributed to its ability to nearly double its global shipments over the course of the last year, according to most industry trackers. Xiaomi's achievements in Southeast Asia still came at the expense of its home market where the firm has now fallen behind Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo, yet intends to make a more focused domestic push going forward, according to Mr. Lei's recent statements. Xiaomi is now also eyeing Europe as another large foreign opportunity, having recently launched its smartphones in countries such as Poland and Spain. Its stateside prospects remain somewhat dubious given the current trade-related tensions between Washington and Beijing that saw the U.S. legislators effectively block Huawei from doing large-scale business in the country, citing spying concerns. While Xiaomi is understood to have less direct ties to the Chinese government than Huawei, the Capitol Hill may also use a similar strategy to block its growth in the U.S.
Xiaomi's overall chances of succeeding in the U.S. are still believed to be higher than those of Huawei and ZTE by virtue of the fact that the startup almost exclusively deals in consumer electronics and related software and isn't present in the telecom segment. Washington was recently said to be concerned about ZTE and Huawei primarily due to their wireless ambitions in the country, with both companies trying to participate in stateside 5G deployment efforts. Xiaomi's aggressive expansion strategy is understood to be serving as a prelude to the startup's initial public offering expected to be held in the second half of the year, targeting a valuation of up to $100 billion.