Xiaomi is expanding its footprint to the West, and this time it's partnering with CK Hutchison to enter UK and Europe smartphone markets. After entering Spain late last year and receiving a positive response, Xiaomi's smartphone will now be sold in many other European markets.
Through CK Hutchison's telecom subsidiary Three UK's retail stores, Xiaomi will initially sell its products in the European markets, reports Reuters. Xiaomi smartphones will be sold via 3 Group's stores in Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK. AS Watson's stores like Fortress, Superdrug and Kruidvat in Hong Kong, Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands will also be selling Xiaomi products in the future.
"We have been watching Xiaomi's success from afar and are impressed with the huge range of connected devices that they currently offer. This partnership provides us with another leading brand in our smartphone range and also opens the door for innovative new connected products that we can provide to Three customers in the future. So watch this space!" Tom Malleschitz, Three UK's chief digital officer told Engadget.
While Xiaomi has been aggressive in the Asian markets, the company is now shifting its focus onto Western markets, albeit cautiously. In June 2015, Xiaomi launched its online accessory store in the United States and major European countries selling fitness bands, headphones, and other accessories, but never really made its smartphones available there.
However, Xiaomi has been dropping hints about its arrival in Europe and the US since late last year, and Lei Jun, Xiaomi Chairman, even confirmed that it would enter the US smartphone market in late 2018 or early 2019. Xiaomi already sells a number of products in the US, including its Android TV set-top box, Mi TV, at Walmart locations around the country, but its success in the US smartphone market will ultimately depend on carriers and the laws of the region. Talking about Europe, the company picked Spain as its first market in western Europe as they knew that the reception would be positive gauging from the fan following in the Mi community forums. However, now they are finally taking the big step, and it remains to be seen how Xiaomi fares in the competitive market.