Chinese technology firm Xiaomi will release its latest lineup of smartphones and consumer electronics today.
Xiaomi recently claimed the title of world’s most popular smartphone brand through the growing popularity of its budget conscious smartphones, pushing Samsung and Apple to second and third place respectively. The company has garnered international attention for its explosive growth in the 11 years since its inception, without establishing itself in the US smartphone market, by expanding in Chinese and Indian markets. Still, it also faces accusations of undue state support and maintaining a comfortable relationship with the Chinese military.
Xiaomi’s premier market position is likely to intensify the United States’ scrutiny of it. In January 2021, the US Department of Defense placed the company on its “Communist Chinese Military Companies” list, preventing Americans from investing in the company through equity markets; the designation was subsequently removed 5 months later. While this treatment was less severe than Huawei’s, it has signaled the US’ continued interest in punishing perceived Chinese bad actors and decoupling sensitive sectors of the economy. Expect Washington’s interest in Xiaomi to remain in the short- to medium-term until the Biden administration concludes its review of Chinese tech companies.
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Julian is a Research Analyst for The Daily Brief where he is a regular contributor. As a researcher and writer, Julian specializes in the political economy of East Asia and global macroeconomic developments.