Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is about to make good on stalled plans to expand into Western Europe, beginning with a sale launch in Spain on Wednesday. Xiaomi will initially offer to Spanish consumers its flagship Mi A1 device (229 euros) and its all-screen Mi Mix 2 smartphone (499 euros), pictured below.
In 2014, Xiaomi was briefly the world's most valuable startup in China, but intense competition from local rivals Huawei, Vivo, and Oppo saw its sales stall within two years.
Since that time, however, the company has overtaken Apple to become China's fourth largest mobile vendor by sales and has launched in dozens of other countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine, as part of a $1 billion overseas expansion drive.
The company also has a strong presence in India, where it currently comes second behind Samsung in smartphone sales. However, after past stumbles in more untested markets like Brazil, Xiaomi is now aiming for a more considered expansion across Europe.
"In order to be focused, we want to make Spain successful first," said Wang Xiang, Xiaomi's global sales VP, speaking to The Verge. "And then we can think of other markets and countries. We want to learn from the customers about the taste of European people."
Xiaomi had sold about 10 percent of its smartphones outside China since the middle of last year. However, the company also plans to sell other products in Spain, including internet-connected scooters, air purifiers, and coffee makers.