In a press conference held today in San Francisco, Chinese cell phone company Xiaomi announced that it would consider opening their e-commerce site to the US. However, contrary to hopeful rumors, Xiaomi made it clear that they will not of yet be selling their phones and tablets in the US.
Xiaomi, who rose to become the third largest manufacturer in the world last year, has as well recently stolen the front runner position from Samsung in the Chinese market. The company seems to be moving very quickly, and the rumors of when they will attempt to break into the US market have often been phrased in terms of when, not if. However, today’s conference seemed to illustrate that the company is not in any kind of to leap into that market.
One thing to consider is that Xiaomi might find itself on the receiving end of the litigious arm of many companies, a point that many of the reporters at today’s events seemed to leap at:
Over and over again, Xiaomi has been accused of being a copycat of other companies, though they have recently began responding to such claims. Last year we saw Apple become victorious over Samsung regarding accusations of patent-infringement, and one wonders whether Apple could use the same lightning against Xiaomi.
But in some respect, this conference was meant to help people understand how Xiaomi distinguishes itself from its competitors. As Kyle Russel, who live tweeted the event for TechCrunch, tweeted:
— Kyle Russell (@kylebrussell) February 12, 2015
In fact, Hugo Barra, former vice president of Google’s Android division and current vice president of Xiaomi, spent much of his speaking on how Xiaomi’s MIUI distinguishes itself from the stock Android and Cyanogenmod that it is based off of. As well, much was made of the more interesting features unique to MIUI. As well, Barra demonstrated many features of the Mi Note, taking every oportunity to compare it to the iPhone6 plus.
There seemed to a lot one could read from this conference. On the one hand, Xiaomi was certainly not cavalier about where they are headed, as they have been in the past. But on the other hand, they certainly did much to show off their prowess as a tech company.
Is this the begining of Xiaomi’s entrance into the US? And if so, considering their low price point, could their products (and perhaps eventually their phones and tablets) be competitive in the US market?