Xiaomi Announces Soft Launch in the West
Xiaomi, the Chinese-borne Apple competitor -- which surpassed Uber in late December as the world's most-valuable indie startup after news that it had raised over $1 billion in new funding -- has announced a soft launch in the US, UK, France and Germany. The jump westward comes five years after the company's founding, and follows a failed attempt to enter India's nascent market.
The company will not be selling any of its well-regarded phones at the outset -- only its fitness band, two charging packs and a pair of headphones.
As mentioned, Xiaomi is best known for its smartphone line, which operates on a modified version of Google's Android operating system designed to mimic Apple's iOS. (It's not the only thing designed by Xiaomi to mimic Apple -- everything from its website to its product announcements resemble the tech giant's own.)
Regardless of any copycatting, Xiaomi is a force to be reckoned with in China, having surpassed Apple as the country's No. 1 smartphone seller in February, before being surpassed again by Apple later in Q1.