Xiaomi announced the details of its first-ever launch event set to take place in the UK, with the announcement being accompanied by a teaser image hinting that the OEM intends to bring the Xiaomi Mi 8 into the country later this week. Specifically, the event has been scheduled for November 8 at 2 PM local time and the presentation will be live streamed online through both Facebook and YouTube. Meanwhile, although no devices have been mentioned outright, the OEM confirms that the event will be focused on its latest flagship, while the accompanying image showcases a smartphone with an in-panel fingerprint scanner. This characteristic is boasted by the new Xiaomi Mi 8 which was unveiled for the global market in September, but it’s likely that the event will also introduce the Mi 8 Lite model to the UK audience.
Xiaomi’s first UK-based launch event isn’t entirely surprising even though exact details have been missing, up until this moment. This is due to the fact that the OEM confirmed its plans for expanding into the UK last May when it revealed a fresh collaboration with one of the country’s largest carriers, Three UK. Having said that, the Xiaomi Mi 8 and possibly its budget-friendlier counterpart, i.e., the Mi 8 Lite, will likely be offered on-contract by Three UK in the coming weeks. At the same time, Xiaomi also announced its first brick & mortar Mi Store for London earlier in October which was scheduled to open its doors this month, and it's likely that this will be the location where the first UK-based November 8 event will take place. With that in mind, it's natural to assume that the Xiaomi Mi 8 lineup will also be offered off-contract via the London-based shop before the end of the year. This has yet to be directly confirmed, so only time will tell whether the OEM’s smartphones will be offered in the country exclusively through Three UK’s channels or otherwise. Nevertheless, since the OEM went through the effort of opening a physical Mi Store in London, it wouldn't make much sense for UK's first Xiaomi smartphones not to be available for purchase there, and besides, the timing seems to be just right.
Xiaomi has been expanding its footprint globally over the past few years, and the company’s smartphones already have a strong presence in numerous European countries. The OEM’s UK debut will likely help Xiaomi to establish itself as a global smartphone manufacturer even further, and by bringing its most powerful smartphone to date into the UK - and possibly also offering a more budget-oriented alternative - the brand is bound to earn a lot of new fans in this fresh marketplace that hasn’t been previously tapped. Earlier this year, IDC research showed that Xiaomi overtook OPPO to become the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world in 2018 by both shipments and market share, while being outperformed only by giants like Samsung, Apple, and Huawei. Nevertheless, the gap seems to be shrinking given Xiaomi's high growth rate.