If there’s a unicorn of the smartphone industry, it’s probably a Xiaomi phone in the United States. They’re a very recognizable brand around the globe, but in the US they have absolutely zero presence. There have been tons and tons of rumors about that changing for years, but Xiaomi is still planning their debut.
While talking to CNBC, an executive discussed the company’s US plans. There’s still absolutely nothing set in stone about any particular phone making its way to the west, the company is heavily stockpiling resources and watching the market closely.
Part of the reason for the hesitation is that Xiaomi realizes that many US customers buy phones with a contract or installment plan through a wireless carrier, which is fairly unique compared to every other market around the world. It’s not something Xiaomi has much experience with, and they know better than anyone that blindly wading into one of the most competitive regions in the world would end poorly.
Xiaomi also has to figure out how to contend with the stigma Chinese brands face in the United States, which not even Huawei has been able to overcome. Couple that with the stranglehold of brand recognition that Apple and Samsung have on the market, and you have a very, very hostile market to try and enter.
So don’t hold your breath, but don’t count Xiaomi out, either.