When a product is launched, getting it sold in a country or region isn’t as easy as just exporting it there. Companies need to ensure that the devices are compliant with local laws and regulations, and when it comes to phones, usually gray imports are allowed and you can use a phone not intended for the US as long as it works on local carrier bands.
For the most part, most companies don’t really do much about these gray imports, but it looks like Xiaomi is starting to take it more seriously. According to an increasing number of user reports, it seems that the company has started blocking phones in several countries around the world.
For the past few weeks, Xiaomi has been proactively blocking users from provisioning their phones if they live in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, or Crimea, in order to comply with export regulations and stop resellers. https://t.co/51AdXIMgnW
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) September 9, 2021
This includes countries such as Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and Crimea. Why those countries? Apparently this is to comply with export regulations as well as putting a stop to resellers. Prior to this, the company’s phones had no issues being used in the country, so assuming these user reports are accurate, it seems that the company is retroactively blocking them.
That being said, it should be noted that based on comments and replies to the tweet by XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, not all users in those countries are experiencing these problems. We’re not sure how Xiaomi is selecting the devices to block or if there could be something else we’re missing, but it is a bit worrying that companies can block phones even after customers have paid for them and were using them just fine.