Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi says that it plans to enter the U.S. smartphone market in late 2018 or 2019, according to report from The Wall Street Journal. Xiaomi Chair Lei Jun told WSJ, “We’ve always been considering entering the U.S. market. We plan to start entering the market by end 2018, or by early 2019.”
Chinese tech companies have seen high level of success but softly on their home turf, and have faced continued challenges in exporting their success to Western markets. Xiaomi is confident in this big step, but at this time, it’s not clear what carriers the company will partner with, or if it will partner with any at all. It’s expected that they do partner because it will give them a critical advantage in entering the U.S. market.
Jun said that he’s aware of the undoes the company has to jump through, including adapting to American regulations and accommodating customers’ needs and wants. Xiaomi currently sells fitness trackers and other accessories in the U.S., so there’s already some infrastructure in place for the company to expand upon.
Huawei previously saw pushback from U.S. regulators because of suspension that their smartphones might be used for surveillance, so at this point, it’s doubtful that another Chinese brand might have better luck. Xiaomi may have better luck selling unlocked phones in the Western markets, but it might have a hard time partnering with wireless carriers to give it a boost.