Lei Jun: Xiaomi Expects to Enter US Market By End of 2018

Xiaomi is currently preparing for its much-anticipated IPO, and the company will start selling smartphone products in the U.S. as early as this year.

Beijing-based Xiaomi, the fourth-ranked smartphone manufacturer in China, has been successful in recent years in emerging markets such as India and Southeast Asia. Xiaomi has also entered some Western markets, such as Spain, and opened retail stores in Spain earlier this year.

“We’ve been thinking about entering the U.S. market,”

says Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi. “Xiaomi plans to formally enter the U.S. market by the end of 2018 or early 2019.”

Xiaomi has already started selling network interconnection devices in the U.S., such as speakers, cameras and electronic scales, but Xiaomi phones have not yet been sold in the U.S. Xiaomi will face some challenges when entering the U.S. market, such as dealing with Apple and Samsung’s dominance. In addition, Xiaomi must also work with at least one U.S. telecom operator.

Xiaomi may encounter the same obstacles that Huawei faced when attempting to enter the U.S. market. Earlier this year, Huawei had reached an agreement with AT&T to help Huawei sell high-end Mate 10 smartphones in the U.S. market. The partnership was forced to end for political reasons.

Lei Jun knows very well that it is not easy to enter the international market. Xiaomi needs to familiarize itself with local laws and regulatory policies, as well as the needs and expectations of local consumers for smartphone products. Lei Jun declined to comment further on the matter.

According to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi is the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in China after Huawei, OPPO and Vivo. Apple and Samsung rank fifth and eighth in China, respectively. Xiaomi’s market share declined in 2016, but rebounded in 2017. Its mobile phone shipments increased by more than 50 percent to 96 million units that year.

Xiaomi is expected to IPO in Hong Kong in the second half of this year. It plans to raise $10 billion, amounting it to the largest IPO this year. Its last fundraising event was in 2014, after which Xiaomi’s market valuation reached $46 billion. After this year’s IPO, Xiaomi market valuation will be largely increased to $80 billion to $100 billion.

This article originally appeared in Sina Tech and was translated by Pandaily.