It’s no secret that Xiaomi is set on global domination. In a few short years, Xiaomi has grown into one of the most dominant smartphone and electronics manufacturers in China and is making massive strides in India and other markets around the globe. While Xiaomi isn’t even on the radar in North America, that could quickly change in 2017. The company has not announced any devices for the US, but Hugo Barra revealed to Engadget that Xiaomi has been network testing a special version of the Mi 5 in the US and plans to do the same with the newly-announced Mi Note 2.
“Earlier this year we had a special version of Mi 5 that we made just for testing in the US, just so that we can start testing and doing small-field trials to sharpen our chops, if you will. And now we have Mi Note 2 which is another device that we can use for some field testing in the US. That’s again just another small step in the right direction or in the direction of being able to launch full-on products there.”
For those who don’t know, partnering with service providers for network testing in the US is critical since Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T use a few different network than most other service providers across the globe. Unlocked GSM phones can work on AT&T and T-Mobile’s 3G networks, but they rarely work with 4G since those bands are different than those used across Asia and Europe.
Xiaomi’s plans for the US market are still a mystery. The company would likely follow in the footsteps of OnePlus and sell its smartphones through its own website, but it could also partner with service providers to sell its phones through their sites and retail distribution channels. Selling smartphones directly to the consumer seems to work in nearly every market but the US.
Do you think the US will be ready for Xiaomi smartphones in 2016? What changes do you think Xiaomi needs to make if it wants to compete with Samsung and Apple and capture a significant share of the US market?