China's Xiaomi enters UK with phones, wristband and scooter

The world’s fourth bestselling handset maker – has added the UK to is growing list of markets.The Chinese firm’s initial line-up for the country includes three smartphones, a fitness-tracking wristband and an electric scooter.

China's Xiaomi enters UK with phones, wristband and scooter

It is also opening a shop in London’s Westfield Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre, which also has an Apple store.

The launch expands its presence in Western Europe, where it is also active in Spain, France and Italy.

Xiaomi has a reputation for competitively pricing its products and seeking to maximise earnings by prioritising volume over profit mark-up.

Earlier this year, it announced it would limit its hardware products’ net profit margin to 5%, suggesting the move would help convince customers it was a brand that could be trusted.

According to market research firm IDC, only Huawei’s smartphone sales are outpacing it in terms of growth among the major manufacturers.

Xiaomi’s initial flagship phone for the UK will be the Mi 8 Pro – an Android handset with a fingerprint sensor hidden behind its 6.2in (15.7cm) display, and a transparent glass rear through which some of its components can be seen.

Co-founder Xiang Wang told the BBC that Xiaomi intended to expand its range of products in the UK in 2019, and might also launch its sub-brand Poco.

And while he said his firm has no plans at present to hold one of its famous “flash sales” in the country – in which limited quantities of a new device are put on sale at a set time – he indicated that they could be offered at a later date to help drive awareness.

“When Xiaomi enters a country they almost always grow very fast,” commented Neil Mawston, from the consultancy Strategy Analytics.

“That’s happened in India, Indonesia and Russia and now we’re seeing it grow very quickly in Spain.

“Those most at risk of losing sales to them in the UK include Samsung, Huawei, TCL Alcatel, LG and ZTE – Apple is probably safe because it plays in much higher price tiers.”

Another expert added that it would be a mistake solely to focus on the company’s smartphone ambitions.

“It’s jaw-dropping the amount of products that Xiaomi makes,” said Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy.