Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi to enter Brazil in 2014

Led by Brazilian executive Hugo Barra, the company wants to woo customers with its low-cost smartphones

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced that it will start operations in Brazll as part of its plan to expand into new markets.

The company's products are already on sale in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. By New Year's Eve, Xiaomi will be selling its Mi3 model in Brazil and Mexico in Latin America, as well as India, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey and the Philippines.

Brazilian-born Hugo Barra, the head of Xiaomi's expansion into new markets, was Google's former vice president of the department for products based on the Android operating system and joined the Chinese firm in 2013.

The Xiaomi executive's Google+ post from last month displayed his picture with the governor of the state of Minas Gerais - the state Barra is originally from - and the Brazilian ambassador in China, after talks around "taking Xiaomi to Latin America starting from Brazil"

Barra has been quoted as saying that Xiaomi will use the same competitive pricing strategy that it uses in China - where it has already surpassed Apple - when it launches its products in foreign markets.

As well as the advantage of having a local as its face in Brazil, Xiaomi's higher-spec, lower-cost devices could be a hit in the currently bullish local market: last year, smartphone sales rose by 122%, according to analyst IDC.

One of the factors behind this expressive growth was the fact that the devices are becoming more affordable thanks to fiscal incentives and greater competition. A similar dynamic could also be verified in the tablet space, where cheaper alternatives gained popularity amongst consumers - particularly those of lower incomes.