Xiaomi extends its footprint to Taiwan and Hong Kong

China Daily, April 10, 2013

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp is selling its newly launched Mi 2S model in Hong Kong and Taiwan, in a bid to extend its reach in those regions.

The move shows that the Beijing-based company, which said last year that it planned to step out of the Chinese mainland, has eventually managed to expand its footprint.

Lei Jun, Xiaomi's founder and CEO, unveiled the Mi 2S - the updated version of the second-generation Mi 2 - in Beijing on Tuesday.

The handset is equipped with a quad-core Snapdragon 600 chipset developed by Qualcomm Inc, and runs on Xiaomi's latest operating system, the Miui V5.

Consumers on the Chinese mainland were able to buy the phone online, starting at 1,999 yuan ($318.83), on Tuesday evening. Lei said that Xiaomi prepared 200,000 units for the first round of sales.

However, buyers in Hong Kong and Taiwan will have to wait two more weeks for the phone's release.

A Mi 2S with 16 gigabytes of storage will be sold for HK$2,499 ($322) in Hong Kong and for NT$9,499 ($316) in Taiwan.

"Even in Hong Kong or in Taiwan, I believe that Xiaomi's prices will always be attractive to local customers," Lei said at a news conference in Beijing.

At the same event, Xiaomi also unveiled the Mi 2A - a version of the Mi 2S targeted at younger consumers, such as college students, and priced at 1,499 yuan.

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has seen rapid growth. The company, which posted 12.7 billion yuan in revenue in 2012, sold 7.19 million smartphones last year. It launched its first smartphones in August 2011.

Lei said he hoped to double the sales figure to 15 million units this year.

The company's broader plan, Lei told China Daily in June last year, is to ship more than 100 million smartphones annually for each model by 2016.

In the same interview, Lei expressed his hopes to sell Xiaomi smartphones outside the Chinese mainland in the second half of 2012.

In addition to Hong Kong and Taiwan, some emerging markets, including Russia, India and Brazil, have also been prioritized.

"We need time for customers in developed economies to recognize and accept a Chinese brand," Lei said, explaining why developed countries are not being targeted.

"Because Xiaomi is a unique mobile phone vendor that has largely built its reputation through the Internet, we need to select markets with a good e-commerce environment and a well-established social network," Lei added.