Although Xiaomi didn’t make the top five global smartphone vendor list for Q3 2016, also dropping out of the domestic podium, as OPPO and Vivo invested heavily in offline sales, marketing and promotions, the so-called “Apple of China” remains a force to be reckoned with.
A creative force, mainly, based on the recent announcement of a conceptual but ready-for-primetime edgeless Mi MIX. Xiaomi will try to compete in the increasingly crowded low-cost VR headset landscape too, at least on Chinese shores, while continuing to expand in markets like Russia, Mexico and even the US, as far as the ultra-affordable 4K-enabled Mi Box is concerned.
Sooner or later however, this six year-old company needs to take a page from compatriot and arch-rival Huawei’s playbook, getting serious about North American phones or die trying. As it turns out, Xiaomi doesn’t just want to sell products like the Mi 5 or Mi Note 2 directly to US consumers in unlocked variants that may or may not properly function on the nation’s largest wireless networks.
“Small-field trials” have apparently begun earlier this year for Xiaomi to “sharpen” its chops, and eventually be able to launch “full-on products there.” Full-on, as in compatible with as many major carriers as possible, and perhaps even subsidized by one or two. It’s quite an ambitious goal, but it’s still going to take up to a couple of years for it to be fully achieved.