Xiaomi looking at international expansion during 2014

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is looking to expand internationally during 2014, with the south-east Asian region a likely first growth target, according to reports.

According to TechInAsia, the Chinese tech company has revealed it is looking at south-east Asia as it next market, with its first stop “most likely” in Singapore.

Hugo Barra, who resigned in August as Google’s vice president of product management in favour of the position at Xiaomi under chief executive Lei Jun, revealed the company views Singapore as an important regional hub.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with potential partners in other countries, in south-east Asia primarily,” Barra said.

“We just came back from a trip to Singapore a few weeks ago, and we’re trying to get our operations for south-east Asia set up as quickly as possible.

“It’s an important hub for the region. A lot of businesses start there, so that’s why we researched that area first.”

The Chinese smartphone maker first gained the attention of the tech industry after analysts noted it had beaten a range of established rivals, including ZTE, HTC and Lenovo, to claim one of the top five spots in the Chinese smartphone market.

Xiaomi is estimated to now claim around 7.1% of the Chinese smartphone market, a higher share than larger rivals such as HTC (6.8%), Lenovo (6.3%) and ZTE (5.1%).

China is believed to be the world’s largest by volume.

In October, Xiaomi made headlines after Barra claimed it had sold 100,000 of its Mi3 smartphones within just 90 seconds of its launch.

The feats were made all the more impressive by the fact the company only launched in 2010 and didn’t begin shipping smartphones until 2011.

However, the company has often been criticised as being an Apple imitator due to Jun’s preference for black mock turtleneck tops and jeans, along with the company’s use of an iOS-style user interface, called MIUI, on top of Android.

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