Xiaomi phones are sold in over 50 countries, but the US has never been one of them. Why?
In fact, it's not entirely true that Xiaomi phones haven't been sold in the U.S. at all. On February 1, 2016, US Mobile unexpectedly made several different Xiaomi (and Meizu) phones available in the US.
US Mobile was -- and probably still is for the vast majority of consumers -- a relatively unknown prepaid phone carrier using T-Mobile's network.
But less than 24 hours later, sales were halted when T-Mobile announced that Xiaomi phones would need to go through an additional "certification process."
Xiaomi, meanwhile, says US Mobile is not even authorised to sell its phones. Not only that, Xiaomi says it has no plans to let "authorized resellers in the U.S." sell its phones in the future.
Fast forward to the final days of the Trump presidency, when the Trump administration "blacklisted" Xiaomi, which simultaneously blocked any U.S. investment and further made it more taboo to sell its products in the United States.
Xiaomi sued, and in May 2021, the Biden administration rescinded the previous order.
Mi 12 Series
But in 2023, Xiaomi phones still won't work -- actually for two interrelated reasons. The first is Xiaomi's business model, which limits profit on hardware sales to 5 per cent.
This model allows them to undercut prices from Apple, Samsung and many others. Unfortunately, Xiaomi's current business model clashes significantly with the U.S. model, which relies heavily on deals with mobile carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
Hugo Bara, Xiaomi's vice president, told Android Central:"Brands need to partner with carriers to break into the U.S. market, and Xiaomi is not willing to do that."
Today, Xiaomi is still reluctant to do so. To enter the US market, Xiaomi will have to invest a lot of time, resources and money to restructure their business model. And at the moment, Chinese companies (TikTok, for example) are suffering serious resentment in the US.
Last year, Xiaomi publicly stated that "while the U.S. is a very important market, we don't have any specific smartphone timeline to share at this time."
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