Xiaomi to Enter 10 New Countries as Expansion Accelerates

Apr 23, 2014 4:14 am ET

(Updates with quote from President in fourth paragraph.)

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Xiaomi Corp., the four-year-old smartphone maker that outsells Apple Inc. in China, plans to enter 10 more countries this year as it accelerates international expansion.

Sales will start in nations including India, Brazil and Russia, Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s founder and chief executive officer, said at a press conference in Beijing today.

The maker of smartphones, televisions and routers is broadening its range of consumer electronics and expanding overseas to build on existing sales in its home market of China as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Xiaomi keeps costs down by selling directly to consumers online and Lei has set a goal of boosting sales fivefold to 100 million phones in 2015.

“You can certainly call this an acceleration,” President and co-founder Bin Lin said in an interview after the event. “It’s our mission and our belief that this model should be able to achieve some level of success outside of China.”

The company recorded 1.5 billion yuan ($240 million) in orders during a one-day Web sale in China on April 8, and is now the nation’s third-largest e-commerce site, the company said yesterday.

Xiaomi’s Mi3 smartphone sells for 1,999 yuan, or less than half the 4,488 yuan price of Apple’s iPhone 5c. Compared with the 5c, for example, Mi3 has a larger, sharper screen; a camera with higher-density pixels; and speedy quad-core processors from Nvidia Corp. or Qualcomm Inc.

New Routers

Xiaomi captured 7 percent of the China smartphone market in the fourth quarter, ranking just ahead of Apple, according to researcher Canalys.

At the conference, Lei unveiled two new router products, one that sells for 699 yuan and can control household appliances as well a stripped down version for 129 yuan. Xiaomi also announced an update to its set-top TV Box.

Founded in 2010 as a company to make software for mobile devices running Google Inc.’s Android system, Xiaomi introduced its first smartphone in 2011. The company subsequently added the MiBox, a television set-top box, and then last September announced a 47-inch TV that connects to the Web running the Android operating system.

Xiaomi’s valuation hit $10 billion with a fundraising round in August, the same month it hired Hugo Barra from Google to lead international sales.

The other markets announced by Lei today are Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico and the Philippines.