Apple’s China Competitor Xiaomi Tests US Waters With Online Store
Xiaomi Inc., Apple Inc.’s Chinese competitor, has opened a store in the United States, fulfilling an announcement made in February. But the store isn’t a physical one, just an online venture. Placed on sale were only accessories, including headphones, external battery packs and a fitness/sleep tracker. Xiaomi’s smartphones and other devices, such as the 5.7-inch Mi Note, were not included yet.
Through a beta test of the Mi.com, items sold on the online store portal were priced at $15 for the Mi fitness tracker, $10 for a USB power pack for charging mobile devices while its bigger model goes for $14, and a pair of Mi headphones costs $79. Xiaomi boasted its external battery can fire up iPhone 5S four-and-a-half times.
Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s global vice president, earlier told Mashable the foray will start out selling Xiaomi items in small volumes. Then, they will “see how it goes,” Barra said. The rollout of the Xiaomi smartphones will seem to depend on the success of the sale of the company’s smaller items.
With a stock market capitalization of $46 billion achieved only after entering the scene in 2010, Apple Inc.’s Chinese rival recently introduced a line of new products such as the Redmi 2A smartphone. Priced at $96, Redmi features a 720p display 4.7 inch screen, an 8-megapixel rear-facing shooter and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It has two SIM card slots and supports 4G LTE connectivity. Portal Christian Today described it as “easy on the pocket but big on performance.”
Lei Jun, Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Technology and Chairman of Kingsoft Corp., told the Wall Street Journal in April he envisions Xiaomi to topple Apple Inc. to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade.