Acknowledging that the United States is an important market for consumer electronics and lifestyle brands, Vice President Hugo Barra has reaffirmed that Xiaomi is definitely looking at an expansion into the U.S. smartphone market.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Barra stated that the company is looking forward to introducing its brand to the U.S. consumers.
"We are going to make our way into the U.S. market, slowly of course," says Barra in an interview. "Everyone expects us to launch smartphones there in the near future."
While failing to give a time frame, the company vice president has revealed that it is in the process of launching a number of products in the U.S. Barra also divulged that a product will come to the U.S. this October.
When probed on why the company will take the slow approach for market expansion and not come out with a "big bang," Barra reminded that Xiaomi is just six years old and as such, it has to take things slowly. He also explained that the U.S. is a complex market and that customer service and after-sales support for the country has to be laid out very carefully. Moreover, Xiaomi is currently engaged in market expansions outside the U.S., such as India and Indonesia.
Commenting on the company's strategy for entering the U.S. market, Barra detailed that the planned approach is to lead with social media and get in touch with the younger generation who is enthusiastic about technology.
Refraining from divulging much about the company's financial details, Barra explained that Xiaomi does not need any further investments for the planned market expansion and that the company has raised a substantial amount of capital that was extracted from its own operations. The vice president has also shed some light on Xiaomi's funding of other companies, noting that the company's investment firepower is "quite significant."
Questions regarding Xiaomi's finances were raised after the International Data Corporation (IDC) released figures showing its smartphone sales falling by more than 38 percent compared to 2015. Huawei, Oppo and vivo, respectively, now sit atop Xiaomi that has fallen from first last year to fourth this year. Note that all three of the mentioned companies have gained in sales.
However, it is also important to bear in mind that Xiaomi doesn't just sell smartphones and is putting out products from rice cookers to foldable electric bikes. Xiaomi also recently launched its take on VR headsets.
Talks of Xiaomi's interest in entering the U.S. market have been floating around since last year. It further solidified earlier this year after Xiaomi's announcement of acquiring more than 1,500 Microsoft patents. Some experts believe that this puts Xiaomi in a better position, compared to last year at least for competing against Apple and Samsung, which dominate the U.S. market.