Xiaomi's Hugo Barra crushes dreams of an imminent handset launch in the US

Xiaomi's Hugo Barra crushes dreams of an imminent handset launch in the US
Speaking at a recent Re/Code conference, Xiaomi Vice President Hugo Barra shared some insight on the company's approach towards the US market.

Although most of the interview is focused on common topics for Xiaomi officials, such as the company's price-aggressive business model, or its ambitions of securing a foothold in the emerging Indian market, at some point, the focus was turned to Xiaomi's plans for the US.

Unfortunately for those who wanted to hear a specific time frame for the first Xiaomi handset launch in the US, the answer was not as specific as that. Instead, Barra reiterated Xiaomi's plans to test the waters in the US by selling accessories - such as the $15 Mi Band and a headphone range - through its online web store. Referring to the Mi Band, Barra hinted at the fact that a second-generation Mi Band could integrate a heart rate sensor.

According to Barra, Xiaomi does have plans to extend its handset business to the United States, but the VP of International left the impression that this won't be happening anytime soon, which is exactly the same position that Barra took in a similar interview back in late May. The Xiaomi executive said that his company will have to overcome a series of disadvantages for a successful launch in the US. 

The first hurdle that Barra mentioned is the fact that full-price unlocked smartphones - a crucial part of Xiaomi's business model, and the only way that Xiaomi sells its handsets - are not very popular in the US, where most people still purchase their handset through carrier subsidies. Furthermore, Barra also spoke of the fact that setting up a decent customer service base in the US would take years to set up correctly, and that US customers are less price-sensitive compared to Xiaomi's audience in Asia.

There's little doubt that a successful handset launch on US shores would mean a lot for the company's international prestige. For now, it looks like the company is looking for more financially profitable endeavours. The upcoming step in Xiaomi's expansion plan seems to be a successful penetration of the Indian market, one where Xiaomi's customer base is prominent.

source: Re/Code

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11 Comments

1. waddup121 unregistered

Xiaomi, PLEASE. I'M BEGGING YOU.

9. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

U.S. Patent lawsuit that's the reason xiaomi can't enter.

10. Mobilephile

Posts: 165; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

This is 1 of the major reasons. They would have their asses handed back to them and up to their noses in lawsuits from Lenovo, Samsung, Google, Apple and probably many others. It would be a huge dent in their pockets. Xiaomi's whole empire was built on "being inspired" by Apple and copying, ...err modeling very aspect from Hardware design to UI to Marketing entire look and feel. I'd say they have more similarities with Apple than Samsung ever had. They're treading slowly and being cautious in the smartphone game, also should be watching Huawei's moves. The wearables category is new/ unproven and they should be swift and move quickly with their Huami division because its early and the category is still being defined in the US.

2. justrt

Posts: 446; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

Just a little clarification: Hugo Barra is a vice president, heading Xiaomi's international division. Not a CEO.http://www.mi.com/sg/about/founder/

3. justrt

Posts: 446; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

It makes sense tho. Huawei have been taking forever to expand and even though they have couple of models in the US, no flagships. Anyway, the way to go is through Europe first, since the European market is more flexible. I think it will take 2 to 3 years for Xiaomi to take the step and land on the US market.

4. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Get your things right, Xiaomi. The main problem is not in your design, but in fact, the problem is that you're a Chinese company. I really hate when someone says "Never buy China products" or "China products are bad" etc.. I mean, yeah, China products were bad, but just look at the major ones like Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, ZTE, Meizu, Lenovo, Vivo etc., are their products bad? Hell no. They make good products. So, the first thing Xiaomi (and any other Chinese manufacturers) should do is to make those people trust in them, like advertise how good quality their product is and whatever. Next thing they should do is to innovate more, not taking inspirations more. Huawei did it, they managed to make people trust in them, look at European and Asian countries. Although some anti-China ones are still remaining. Xiaomi should learn from Huawei.

5. Carl3000

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 11, 2014

No. The problem is they will be hit with lawsuit, after lawsuit, after lawsuit.

8. Paximos

Posts: 282; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Mr. or Mrs. Cook cannot wait.

11. x88yunkw

Posts: 132; Member since: Aug 20, 2012

good say! im huawei mate 7 user, smooth ui even only kitkat.

6. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

Anyone here of trade embargo? The reasons are more political than anyone thinks. If you are interested in selling in the US be ready to pay... And pay big.. Samsung & Apple have it locked up. And they pay big. Hauwai who's number 3 in the world, don't wanna pay. In the end I agree, half the cars in the US are foreign, because of year's of wide open trade policies. Someone name another country were half the cars on their roads are a Chevy?

7. charlesxph

Posts: 35; Member since: Jan 04, 2015

Its the US patent syatem, thats why

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