China's Xiaomi plans Asian expansion

Low-cost smartphone maker looks to enter regional markets similar to its home base in China, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, by end-2012.

China's low-cost smartphone maker Xiaomi will look to expand its business beyond the domestic market to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore via online sales, but it will steer clear of producing tablet devices.

In a Sina Tech report Saturday, Xiaomi  CEO Lei Jun said the company is planning to introduce its handsets to markets "similar" to mainland China and hopes to start sales by the end of the year. He added the company is currently in talks with potential partners overseas to make this a reality.

Lei said it will replicate its sales model in China, which is conducted through online sales platforms, but the exact process will depend on the local market conditions.

He is sure the company will not enter the tablet market, even though it would not be difficult to build these devices. This is because Apple's iPad device has a monopoly over the market, which has led to poor performances by other Android tablet manufacturers, the executive explained.

The smartphone maker has a cult following in China and its latest smartphone, Xiaomi MI-Two--which was unveiled earlier in August--will start selling in October at 1,999 yuan (US$317).

The first Xiaomi phone went on sale in August 2011 in China . In July 2012, Lei announced the company made 60.5 billion yuan (US$9.6 billion) in sales for the period ending June 2012. It was last valued at US$4 billion after it raised US$216 million in the funding round that closed in June.

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