Xiaomi to open online store in Europe – without smartphones

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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is about to makes its first move into the European market after announcing the launch of a new online store.

The store, which is due to open later this year, will sell headphones, battery packs and its popular Mi Band fitness tracker, but as yet, will not be selling its mobile phones.

Despite only launching 5 years ago and even though its smartphones, for the most part, have only been only available to buy in China, Xiaomi is currently the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung and Apple.

It’s strategy of selling low cost, high spec phones, whilst also making money on software and apps has contributed to Xiaomi becoming the world’s most valuable tech startup and being recognised as one of the world’s most innovative tech companies.

So popular are Xiaomi smartphones that the company recently sold 75,000 handsets in just 8 seconds during a flash sale of the Redmi Note in India.

Critics of Xiaomi have questioned the striking similarities between the design of its smartphones to that of Apple’s iPhone and some of Samsung’s popular handsets, which some experts claim is the reason why the company doesn’t yet sell its smartphones in Europe or the United States.

In 2014, Xiaomi began expanding into other markets most notably in Singapore, as well as in the emerging markets of India, Malaysia and the Philippines. The company also plans to offer more products in Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil in the coming months.

However, following the launch of Xiaomi in India, the company was hit with a lawsuit by Swedish phone manufacturer Ericsson due to patent infringement, which resulted in Xiaomi being temporarily banned from selling its products.

The announcement of the new European online store follows on from another recent announcement of a similar store launching launching in the United States – where Xaomi will also not be selling its mobile phones.

It is thought that if Xiaomi was to start selling phones in Europe or the U.S, the company would quickly be on the receiving end of more copyright lawsuits.

Whilst Xaomi won’t be selling phones in Europe or the United States any time soon, the launch of online stores in both regions will help the company to start building a customer base and brand awareness, which in theory should provide Xiaomi with a good starting point for when it does actually begin selling its smartphones in these regions.

Source: Guardian

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