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Xiaomi Plans to Sell Accessories in the U.S., Not Phones

It has no plans to go public, either, at least not in the next three to five years.

Ina Fried

Red-hot startup Xiaomi said Thursday that it plans to open a U.S. e-commerce site in the next few months, but has no plans to sell phones or tablets here any time soon.

The company will sell products such as its headphones and back-up batteries, but not higher-end products that require extensive localization, testing and regulatory approval. Even the company’s high-definition TV is unlikely to be sold here, Senior VP Hugo Barra told Re/code.

Nor does the company have any plans to go public this year, or even in the next three to five years, co-founder and President Bin Lin said.

What the company wants to do is better introduce itself to Silicon Valley, which has been writing about Xiaomi but often hasn’t had a chance to see its products firsthand. Much of Thursday’s event was devoted to an hour-and-a-half presentation about the company, its history and its products.

As for where Xiaomi will go next, Brazil is already in the works for this year. Other possibilities include Russia, as well as the Middle East and other Asian and Latin American markets.

Lin said the key factor is market size, as the company plans to make eventual profits off of services rather than hardware. So it wants places it can build a big fan base to eventually sell other types of Internet services.

While Xiaomi happily touts the rapid sales growth that has made it one of the world’s biggest phone makers, it doesn’t talk much about profit margins other than to say it doesn’t make much from its devices, which it sells directly via its website for roughly the cost to manufacture.

Of course, our readers and conference-goers have known about Xiaomi for a while. We’ve been writing about their importance since 2012; Bin Lin spoke at our D: Dive Into Mobile conference.

Here’s what he had to say back then:

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