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China's Xiaomi to open shop in the US this year, but not for phones

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Xiaomi is holding a press conference in San Francisco today as a way to tell its story to the US press — and while the company said it isn't bringing its phones to the US just yet, it did announce its first foray into selling some of its products here. Global VP Hugo Barra (pictured above) just announced that the company intends to launch its Mi.com online marketplace in the US and potentially some other markets this year. It won't sell any phones when it launches, but the company makes a pretty wide variety of other accessories and smart home items. Specifically, Barra cited products like the company's Mi Band wearable, its Power Bank battery backup solution, its headphones, and other accessories.

Barra cited problems like hardware certification, software testing, infrastructure, and other similar logistical challenges as the reasons for not bringing devices like handsets and tablets to the US. He said that the company is hoping its launch of Mi.com in the US with simpler products that don't have the same regulatory challenges will help expand brand awareness of the company here before it can make bigger moves. When we might see those bigger moves remains to be seen, though — Barra explicitly said that a phone launch in the US is not in the company's roadmap right now.