Xiaomi in no rush to bring its Android devices to the U.S.
Android fans in the U.S. and other markets have been eagerly awaiting some of Xiaomi’s better devices, which have made the Chinese startup the number one smartphone vendor on its home turf.
Sadly, the company is in no rush to bring any of them to U.S. customers.
Most of Xiaomi’s handsets are mid-range devices aimed at China and other emerging markets, but they’re very attractive high-end options with affordable price tags, too.
For instance, the Mi 4 is a pretty iPhone 5 lookalike with a 5-inch 1080p display, a speedy Snapdragon 801 processor, and a 13-megapixel camera. The gorgeous Mi Note Pro is a phablet with a 5.7-inch Quad HD display, a faster Snapdragon 810 processor, and a whopping 4GB of RAM.
But despite their impressive internals and fancy designs, these devices sell for just $320 and $520 respectively in China — which is why they’ve been stealing market share from larger smartphone vendors like Samsung.
It’s no wonder many are keen for Xiaomi to expand its reach into other markets, then, but right now, the U.S. is not part of the company’s immediate plans. Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra has confirmed the company would like to make its mark in the U.S., but it’s in no rush to do so.
One of the reasons for this is the differences between the U.S. and Chinese markets. Xiaomi likes to sell its devices outright, but in the U.S., the vast majority of consumers still buy subsidized devices on contract. As a result of that, price isn’t always a deciding factor.
While Xiaomi devices may be much cheaper overall, then, many in the U.S. would still prefer to get a more expensive handset on contract than spend $300 to $500 in one hit.
But at least Xiaomi does have the U.S. in mind. Even if it’s only for accessories and other gadgets for now, the possibility of a smartphone launch here and in other established markets is only going to increase as Xiaomi becomes more successful.