Xiaomi Inc, a Chinese vendor notable for its aggressively-priced handsets, is looking to secure an overseas expansion deal with 3 (Three), a mobile carrier owned by Asia's richest man - Li Ka-shing. The 85 year old Hong Kong business magnate, whose net worth amounts to $28.8 billion, is head of a global business empire - Hutchison Whampoa. It spans telecommunication operations in 14 countries along with ports, real estate, infrastructure, and retail businesses. In addition, Hutchison owns stakes in Facebook, Spotify, Waze, and Summly. It seems Mr. Ka-shing has a fine flair for young and promising companies. It's no surprise then that he's set his sights on Xiaomi, as it's one of the most popular smartphone brands in China.
The Chinese vendor will partner with 3 Hong Kong to launch its flagship phone, the Mi 3, in the country. Presumably, it will be looking to extend this cooperation into the international markets in which the carrier operates. Outside of China, 3 is present in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the UK. This makes a list of countries that the company could grace with its smartphones sometime in the future. However, the first places outside of China in the pipeline are Indonesia and Vietnam, while Singapore is already done, and Malaysia is in the plans.
Xiaomi's initiative for partnering with 3 is spearheaded by none other than Hugo Barra, former VP of Product Management for Android and current Global VP at the Chinese vendor. "We would love to partner with Hutch in other markets, for example, Indonesia and Vietnam where Xiaomi plans to roll out products in the coming months.” he said at a Hong Kong event.
Last Sunday, Xiaomi unveiled a $161 5.5-inch phablet, the Redmi Note. Alas, this one is only available in China for now. Let's hope that Xiaomi's future expansion into the Western world will go over smoother than Meizu's (a rival to Xiaomi) scramble to the French market. About two weeks ago, it launched its current flagship, the Meizu MX3, in France at the salty price of $763 (549 euros) for the 16GB variant. Meanwhile, the 128GB version of the MX3, which is the most expensive, costs about $650 in China.