Xiaomi U.K. launch: News, devices, networks, rumors

Xiaomi really means business, gets a carrier partner in the U.K.

Xiaomi will officially launch its first smartphone and other products in the U.K. in November. This is a serious push by the Chinese brand, which has a considerable international following, as it will also open a retail store in one of London’s largest and busiest shopping centers. The official launch will take place on November 8, with the store opening on November 10.

While Xiaomi is best known in China and India, it has been increasing its presence in Europe since late 2017, when it launched in Spain. In 2018, it has also added France and Italy to the list. There have been hints Xiaomi would launch in the U.K. ever since the announcement of a partnership with Hutchison Telecom, which owns the country’s Three network. This has resulted in a deal that will see Xiaomi devices inside Three stores after launch.

The company says it will launch a “flagship smartphone” and a range of its smart home products in the U.K.. This follows the model it used in Spain last year when it launched the Mi Mix 2, the Xiaomi Mi A1, and connected products including its fitness tracker. Today, the Spanish online store contains more devices including the Mi 8, the Mi A2, Xiaomi’s electric scooter, and the Mi Box Google Cast-equipped TV set-top box.

Retail stores and a network partner

Exactly what Xiaomi will launch in the U.K. is unknown, but to make a splash, it will likely introduce either a brand-new device or one which has so far not launched outside China. The Mi Store will open in the Westfield Shopping Center in White City, which is the largest shopping center in Europe, ensuring Xiaomi receives a considerable amount of attention. Additionally, Xiaomi products will be available through the Three network, both in-store and online from November 9. In a statement, Three’s chief marketing officer Shadi Halliwell mentions Xiaomi’s “broad range of connected devices,” suggesting it may stock more than just the brand’s smartphones.

Xiaomi has a strong community of fans around the world, almost regardless of whether the brand has an official presence in their country, but breaking into the U.K. market will not be easy. The company faces a stiff challenge from established smartphone brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, along with the rapidly growing Honor and OnePlus. OnePlus’s latest smartphone, the OnePlus 6T, is available in more carrier retail stores than any of its previous devices, making it a formidable opponent in the affordable, high-spec device market.

We’ll bring you all the news from Xiaomi and its U.K. launch over the coming weeks.

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