Chinese mobile device and accessory maker Xiaomi is planning to enter the US market. The red-hot startup will launch an online store stateside in the coming months although many of the products that earned the company recognition – and the title of China’s largest smartphone company – won’t be in the lineup.
Xiaomi’s US store will initially sell smartphone and tablet accessories, earphones, smartbands and the like. The company’s coveted smartphones and tablets on which its success was built won’t be offered when the store launches for a couple of different reasons.
The smartphone landscape in the US is quite different than it is in China. Carrier subsidies and sales would all but eliminate Xiaomi’s cost structure. The company would also need time to modify their MIUI Android-based operating system for individual markets.
Former Google executive Hugo Barra, who now serves as the vice president for international markets at Xiaomi, explained that the company would need to obtain various certifications before it could sell handsets in the US. What’s more, they’d need to set up customer support lines and because of the carrier-dominated landscape, Xiaomi would need to strike up deals in order to be competitive.
Xiaomi finished 2014 as the world’s most valuable tech startup with a valuation of $45 billion after raising $1.1 billion in funding, topping Uber’s $41 billion valuation on $1.2 billion in funding.