Light Reading
Look out, here comes another Chinese smartphone challenger...

China Smartphone Star Eyes US Market

Robert Clark
News Analysis
Robert Clark
6/13/2014
50%
50%

Xiaomi might not be a familiar name outside of China, and certainly not in the US, but that may soon change.

The four-year-old handset firm caught attention outside China when it enticed Google's Hugo Barra to take over its Android business in last August.

But it's now starting to take its distinctive and so far highly successful business model abroad. It has had some early success in Singapore, and has nominated ten other countries for expansion this year. Barra has told an Android news site that the company will target North America from as early as next year.

Last year it sold just under 19 million phones, increasing sales by 150% to 31.7 billion yuan ($5.1 bn) -- but the sales chart doesn't tell the full story.

The company updates its Android-based OS, MIUI, each week based on customer suggestions. It holds feverish events with delirious fans, known as "Mi-fen", whose passion makes Apple fanboys look anemic. During one of these in April it sold 1.3 million phones in a day.

By limiting its distribution to online, Xiaomi, whose name means "little rice," creates scarcity. Right now it has a lengthy waiting list for half a dozen devices, including 9.82 million in the queue for a single product, the Mi 2.

Until now, it has sold just a handful of devices outside China. But the appearance of President Lin Bin onstage at the GSMA's annual Asian conference this week underlines its global ambitions.

Xiaomi has a solid international background. Founded in April 2010, its original backers included Qualcomm, Singapore government investment arm Temasek, and IDG Capital. Its eight founders, including Lin and CEO Lei Jun, all had a history with foreign companies in China such as Google, Microsoft and Motorola.

In his pitch to the GSMA audience, Lin cited figures that showed that seven Xiaomi handset models ranked in the top 15 devices most heavily used online in China. He says the new Mi 3 is the world's fastest smartphone and the first non-PC to carry the Nvidia K1 chip.

With the support of its suppliers such as Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and Sharp Electronics Corp. , it has expanded its product line to tablets, smart TVs and hi-fi gear.

While the company sells directly to users in China, it may decide it needs help in the channel in cracking new markets. Opportunities beckon for operators.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/25/2014 | 5:30:33 AM
Re: China Smartphone star eyes US market
It is a good thing that Xiaomi has decided to branch out and invest their product more in the US. This bold step will be a good one since it has been a success in China. Technology advancements are always a better thing and this will significantly boost the economy of the United States. The number of android users has also increased because of its efficiency and the fact that android phones are cheaper than I- Phones. It is definitely a good business opportunity for Xiaomi.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 12:44:32 PM
Re: China Smartphone Star Eyes US Market
@Kruz, I am cheering with you. 

I think they have the opportunity to not only compete well, but even possibly to change the market - that would be even better.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 12:41:04 PM
Re: China Smartphone Star Eyes US Market
@danielcawrey, very true.  It appears they have the ability to compete and potentially provide even more innovative consumer choices with their business model.  That is what can change the market.
Kruz
50%
50%
Kruz,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 4:21:20 AM
Re: China Smartphone Star Eyes US Market
Innovation driven by a customer experience feedback, a nice model to push.

I hope Xiaomi will be able to find itself a place in times where big players are struggling to grab a tiny market share.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/15/2014 | 2:30:33 PM
Re: China Smartphone Star Eyes US Market
I welcome Xiaomi coming to the United States. Consumers need to have options, and Android versus iPhone is simply not enough in my estimation. 

Those two platforms need a third player to keep competition at world-class levels. We can expect Blackberry or Microsoft to step up, but a new disputer might be capable of doing so. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/13/2014 | 7:50:55 PM
Re: China Smartphone Star Eyes US Market
Robert, incredible!  It sounds as if they have taken the Apple phenomenon to a new high.

Not only the changes and the adapability, but the hype they appear to be generating appears to be creating a "cult" following, along with the multiple products they are offering.

Does sound like a great business opportunity,
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Innovating Access Technology With G.fast

10|1|14   |   3.42   |   (0) comments


Exploring the potential of G.fast technology from the point of view of the Broadband Forum, Huawei – and an end-user.
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (11) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (1) comment


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Is Redbox Instant Shutting Down?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/30/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
SoftBank Eyes a DreamWorks Buy – Report
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/29/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed