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Katie Benner

Xiaomi's Passage to India

Can one of China's most promising mobile companies conquer other markets?
Will these mascots travel?

Will these mascots travel?

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

When I started hearing stories about Xiaomi a few years ago, it seemed like China was ready to produce its first big global brand. The electronics company had built an Apple-like cult following in the country and had managed to stand out in a market already overcrowded with cheap mobile phones.

Xiaomi started out making nice, low-cost devices that consumers loved, and now it makes ultra-low-cost (and fairly attractive) fitness trackers, cameras and connected home gadgets that compete with products from Jawbone, GoPro and Samsung. Venture investors have poured money into Xiaomi, valuing it at $45 billion. That’s more than Uber and more than the market caps of companies like Delta Airlines and Salesforce.com.