Xiaomi splashes out $3.6m on Mi.com domain

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has dug deep into its pockets and unloaded a remarkable $3.6 million (£2.1 million) for the rather unremarkable two letter domain Mi.com.

That's a million quid per letter, an eye watering sum, and the most expensive domain name purchase of 2014 thus far (beating out Whisky.com, which went for $3.1 million, or £1.8 million, two months ago).

So why the major outlay? Because as the Telegraph reports, the company fears that Westerners might have trouble pronouncing or spelling its name, and that could be problematic when it comes to international expansion plans.

Xiaomi is something of an explosion in the proverbial vowel factory, and although it's a pretty brief six letters, it could indeed be troublesome for those outside of China – it's actually pronounced "shao-mi," so effectively, this is a shortening of the name to Mi. Which the company apparently insists stands for "Mobile Internet" and "Mission Impossible" (make your mind up, one way or the other).

Mi.com is the seventeenth most expensive domain name of all-time.

Xiaomi is preparing to push its handsets, like the Mi3, to new markets across the globe, with the plan being to expand sales by a factor of five to 100 million units by 2015.