Xiaomi plots path to global greatness through emerging markets in Asia and Latin America

Xiaomi will continue to focus on emerging markets for its next tranche of expansion with no word yet on whether it will choose to enter North American or European markets any time soon.

Related: Meet the MiPhone 3: Xiaomi unveils “world’s fastest smartphone” in China

Founder Lei Jun explained to Bloomberg that his plan to expand sales five-fold by 2015 to 100 million units will get underway in the Southeast Asia market that it is extremely familiar with before moving on to other markets around the world.

“We’re moving as fast as we can. We’re working around the clock with our supplier and manufacturing partners to meet demand,” said Hugo Barra, the former Android man that Jun is charging with overseeing the firm’s growth.

The plan is to start selling phones in Malaysia over the coming weeks and then move on to Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines shortly after. It is then looking further afield and could start selling devices in India, Brazil and Mexico.

“We will continue to improve manufacturing capacity as we expand into more countries,” said Bin Lin, Xiaomi’s president and co-founder.

Xiaomi, which is ahead of Apple when it comes to market share in China, makes around 3.2 million devices every month, something that represents a 31-fold increase on the amount it made in November 2011. This will have to increase even further if it is to expand around the world.

“We will continue to follow our model of online sales and mobile operator distribution while allowing ourselves to experiment with other channels where it makes sense to do so. We are constantly trying new things at Xiaomi,” Barra revealed when asked of the plans.

Xiaomi’s devices do well in China as customers look at the specification and price before the brand and one analyst pointed to this as a reason for its success.

“From the standpoint of processor, screen size and camera, it is superior to the iPhone,” said Jessica Kwee, a Singapore-based analyst with Canalys.

In China its good fortunes look likely to continue and once it starts stepping out of its comfort zone many more idle observers will become interested in its fortunes.

Related: Xiaomi projects 40 million handset shipments in 2014

“In a mobile-phone landscape, Xiaomi’s rise to prominence is not an everyday occurrence,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager for client devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. “Whether they can rise to the next big milestone of becoming a global player is their next big challenge.”