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Xiaomi moves into Europe, but leaves smartphones behind

Continuing its preliminary accessory launch in the West, Xiaomi has set up shop in Europe, but has not elected to launch any smartphones in the region.

It follows a similar launch in the US last month, offering headphones and other accessories for a competitive price, but no smartphones are available on the store.

Xiaomi’s Mi Band will also be available in the European store, an inexpensive wearable that plugs into several health and fitness services, capable of tracking calories, running and other fitness information.

The company is setting up the stores to get a taste of the markets, before launching smartphones. It also needs time to prepare for potential patent and copyright cases in the US and Europe, before launching its smartphones.

Due to the lack of patent use in China, Xiaomi can get away with using designs and components without having to answer to companies in the West, but it has already faced trials in India and Singapore by Ericsson and other networking providers.

It might be a rather hefty burden Xiaomi has to pay to enter these markets, considering some of the companies in the West see Xiaomi’s Redmi smartphones as component theft wrapped into a cheaper bundle.

Xiaomi has been investing in overseas markets in 2014 and is clearly interested in global expansion, which could catapult the Chinese company into second place in the mobile industry, removing Samsung from the equation.

The company recently faced a large defeat in its home country when Apple sold more iPhones than Xiaomi in Q1 2015, ending the company’s year and a half run in first place.

It is unclear if Xiaomi’s smartphones or Mi Band actually sell at a profit, or if the Chinese company is underselling the products in an attempt to win more customers, and sell software to these customers at a later date.

Xiaomi is currently valued at $45 billion (£29 billion) and might set an IPO date for the New York Stock Exchange when it launches mobiles in the region, sometime in 2015 or 2016.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.