Xiaomi isn’t the only Chinese smartphone maker looking beyond its home market. As Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its latest issue, Xiaomi is the hottest smartphone brand in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market. The Beijing company is only four years old, but its phones have built an Apple-like following among millions of Chinese. That’s thanks, in part, to the celebrity of its leader, Lei Jun, and the company’s savvy use of social media.
But Shao Yang, an executive at Huawei Technologies, says Xiaomi is no sure thing beyond China. Shao is in charge of Huawei’s handset division, and he argues that there is a need for a Chinese brand to challenge the dominance of Apple and Samsung Electronics. “Two brands is not a stable architecture,” says Shao, vice president for marketing at Huawei Consumer Business Group, the division responsible for smartphones. “Everyone wants to have a third one. Where this third one comes from—China is a very obvious choice, because China is the biggest market.”