Xiaomi to test American waters in the next few months

By Jay Jay

Leading Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is finally set to hit the shores in the United States.

At a conference on Thursday, the world's third largest smartphone maker announced its intent to launch its e-commerce website, Mi.com, in the United States in the next five months.

This would disappoint users across the pond who were expecting Xiaomi's smartphones to land ashore sooner.

Tipped to contain the best of specs at low prices, Xiaomi's smartphones have achieved global recognition quickly, amidst concerns they were copying iPhone designs to shore up sales. Sir Jonny Ive even went to the extent of saying: 'I think it’s theft, and it’s lazy.'

Explaining Xiaomi's initial reluctance, Hugo Barra, its Global VP, said, "We might try things in small volumes and see how it goes. We’ll actually gain a lot of experience from selling these products here because we’ll get a lot of feedback that will actually be globally relevant for us. The company has no immediate plans for bringing its handsets to the U.S.," he added.

From a financial standpoint, Xiaomi will look to test the waters with smaller products like headphones and external battery packs before introducing its home-grown phones in a competitive US market which will require investments on a large scale.

Even though it has seen unparalleled success in Asia in the past few years, emulating the same in the U.S. where the demand for high-end phones is much higher, will demand courage from the bravest of its marketers. To create an USP as well as a niche product will need some doing from Xiaomi.

However, we wonder if a couple of quarters will be enough for the Chinese smartphone giant to unfurl its wings in the States.

Interesting times, indeed.

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