China's Xiaomi targets ten markets in international expansion

Xiaomi has quickly risen to become one of the hottest smartphone vendors in China

Former Google executive Hugo Barra at Thursday's Xiaomi event

Former Google executive Hugo Barra at Thursday's Xiaomi event

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi plans to enter ten foreign markets later this year, including Brazil, Mexico and Russia, in a bid to expand globally with its low-cost but cutting-edge phones.

Having risen to become a top smartphone maker in its home market, Xiaomi has already begun selling phones in Singapore, and plans to also enter five other Southeast Asian markets including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand later this year, it said Wednesday.

In addition, Xiaomi is targeting the Indian and Turkish markets.

Last year, the smartphone company hired former Google executive Hugo Barra to help lead its international expansion. It also recently changed its company website address to mi.com to reflect its new international profile. The new name cost Xiaomi US$3.6 million to acquire, company president Lin Bin said in a posting on Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo.

Driving much of Xiaomi's success have been the low prices of its phones, according to analysts. The company markets its phones with cutting-edge specs, but to set them apart from other high-end phones, it prices its handsets at only slightly above what it costs to make them.

For example, Xiaomi has begun selling a new 5.5-inch phone, called the Hongmi Note, for 799 yuan (US$129) without carrier subsidies. It has an eight-core 1.4GHz processor from MediaTek, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 3200 mAh battery.

To further reduce costs, Xiaomi has shunned traditional ways of selling phones using physical stores and commercial ads. Instead, the company mainly sells its phones online, and has cultivated a growing fan base to help promote its products. It hopes to eventually sell software and virtual goods on its devices as a way to raise more revenue.

The business model has shaken up the Chinese smartphone market, putting pressure on other vendors such as ZTE and Huawei to also offer more affordable high-end phones, said Ryan Lai, an analyst with research firm IDC.

"It's definitely disrupting everyone," he said. "Now consumers expect phones with high-end specs at low prices."

Xiaomi plans to adopt the same business model to target foreign markets, Barra said earlier this month at the China 2.0 Forum in Beijing. To help build its fan base, Xiaomi updates the Android software features on its phones each week, using inputs from customers.

Barra added that he believes Xiaomi's model could end up disrupting the traditional ways smartphones are sold across the world.

"We are taking a very different approach in designing, manufacturing and selling, which I think can have an impact," he said. "But we are just getting started."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAndroiddistributionconsumer electronicsXiaomi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Ada Chan

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?