18 July, 2015

Apple's biggest rival in China says it plans to start selling phones in the US

Xiaomi, the startup that makes wildly popular Android phones in China, has plans to start selling its devices in the US, company vice president Hugo Barra told.

But it won't happen anytime soon. Barra said it would take at least a year for the company to build out the necessary distribution and customer support to start selling phones in the US.
Xiaomi is Apple's biggest rival in China. It sells phones with specs that are just as good as high-end iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones but that typically cost half as much.


Apple and Xiaomi consistently sell more phones in China than any other manufacturer, with Apple on top in recent quarters since the launch of the iPhone 6.

The company is often criticized for borrowing heavily from Apple's designs. The critics say Xiaomi gets away with copying Apple because China has looser restrictions on patents. But if Xiaomi does come to the US, it risks lawsuits, as in the high-profile Apple-versus-Samsung case from a few years ago.

Barra told Chang that Xiaomi was building up the protections it needed to battle any such lawsuits.
Xiaomi phones are pretty good too, and if they do come to the US, they'll give you a premium experience at a fraction of the cost of the iPhone.

Xiaomi would most likely be a bigger threat to companies like Samsung, however, because Xiaomi phones also use Android. Samsung has seen smartphone sales rapidly decline over the past two years, mostly because people are buying cheaper premium phones such as those made by Xiaomi. IPhone sales continue to grow despite the phone's higher price.

In the meantime, Xiaomi will continue to focus on selling its phones in emerging markets where most people don't already have smartphones.


China is still the company's biggest market, and the company has recently made a big push in India.

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