As Xiaomi’s smartphone numbers drop in China, US expansion feels inevitable
Depending on what research firm you ask, and whether you focus on the most recent quarterly share figures or the 2015 tally thus far, Xiaomi is either the world’s fourth or fifth largest smartphone manufacturer. It’s definitely in the top five, but Canalys says it’s no longer China’s overall leader.
That honor now goes to Huawei, which continues growing both domestically and internationally, and should further bolster its reputation with the high-profile Nexus 6P and avant-garde Mate S.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi is starting to run out of steam in the biggest smartphone market on the globe, so a stab at the US mobile landscape may not be an option anymore. It’s a necessity, and Lin Bin, the President of “the Apple of China”, confirms his company is exploring an imminent American spread of the high-end Mi Note and Mi Note Pro.
Those two were recently singled out as Asian underperformers, chiefly due to their extravagant prices, though $350 and $450 respectively would probably seem like economical tags in the Western hemisphere.
But Xiaomi needs to hurry, as the Mi Note pair will soon turn one, and at least the lower-end model’s quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip and Full HD screen are beginning to look obsolete, even by upper mid-range standards.
An obstacle in the way of a rapid expansion could be the 2010-founded OEM’s somewhat limited patent portfolio, which already caused it legal problems in India, where Ericsson sued Xiaomi for copyright infringement.
At the same time, Lin Bin emphasized at a press conference in California earlier this week that the outfit he leads isn’t all about phones. “Smartphones are at the center of all the devices that we launch”, but other stuff may also see daylight stateside before long. And he didn’t mean just ultra-affordable power banks and fitness bands.