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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.

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.