Xiaomi launches its seduction operation in Europe
Xiaomi sets out to conquer the West. The company that became the sixth largest smartphone brand in the world with 60 million units sold last year, according to TrendForce, opens from Tuesday an online store for consumers located in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. This is however a timid entry into the European market since Mi smartphones will not be available. To test itself, the company has chosen to market only four accessories: the “Mi Headphones” headset, the “Mi Band” connected bracelet, and two “Power Bank” batteries. This strategy corresponds to the announcements of Hugo Barra, the vice president of Xiaomi Global, during the Mobile World Congress last March.
6th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world
Regarding smartphones, the Chinese brand prefers to focus on India, which should become the second largest market in the world, behind China, but ahead of the United States, by 2016, according to eMarketer. Moreover, Ratan Tata, the president emeritus of the Indian giant Tata, invested in Xiaomi in April.
Also, the low number of patents held by Xiaomi would slow it down in its international expansion, while smartphone brands have been waging a merciless war for several years. So, according to Forbes, only 2,318 patents were filed in 2014 by the Chinese firm, far behind Samsung which would have more than 11,877 in the Chinese market alone.
In the meantime, with its accessories, Xiaomi is still advancing its pawns in Europe, and trying to make its brand known to the general public with a view to a probable future expansion. Founded in 2010 by Lei Jun, Xiaomi has managed in the space of a few years to become one of the main global players in the smartphone market, notably thanks to its entry-level models. Last year the company became the number one seller in China according to an IDC study. With a 12.5% market share, it has thus overtaken Samsung.
A valuation of 45 billion dollars
But beyond smartphones, Xiaomi has also diversified into a whole series of connected accessories. The company has for example launched a connected blood pressure monitor in September 2014. It has also positioned itself on the sports cameras market with the “Yi”, which is presented as a challenger of GoPro, sold for around fifty euros.
Apart from its own products, Xiaomi has also diversified through minority stakes or acquisitions. The company has thus invested more than $ 200 million in Midea Group to position itself in the connected home market, as well as in online videos with shares in the Chinese platforms Youku Tudou and IQiyi. In the end, Lei Jun announced in January that Xiaomi had reached 12 billion dollars in turnover in 2014. To continue to finance its growth, Xiaomi had raised more than 1 billion dollars a month earlier, an operation that has valued the company at $ 45 billion.