Xiaomi, a company best-known in Asia for cheap phones and even cheaper accessories, is finally dipping a toe into the U.S. and European markets.
The company has launched a “beta” store at Mi.com, where it’s selling a handful of accessories to shoppers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The first offerings include a $15 fitness band, a pair of battery packs (10,400 mAh for $14, and 5,000 mAh for $10), and an $80 set of headphones.
While those deals may sound enticing, be aware of the fine print: Xiaomi is shipping the products straight from China, so there’s a shipping fee of $16 per order, and a minimum purchase price of $20. To order anything, you also have to create a Mi.com account, which requires either an email address or phone number.
Xiaomi is encouraging people to pool their orders together to defray the shipping costs, but at the same time it’s limiting each order to no more than two batteries and two fitness bands, and no more than one set of headphones. And right now, it’s all a moot point since every item is out of stock.
There’s no word on when Xiaomi might start selling more items, though it seems likely that users who sign up for a Mi.com account will probably get a heads up on future sales. And given that the company’s business model hinges on selling services across all of its devices, rounding up an audience is probably the point of this whole exercise.
Why this matters: With limited stock, a small accessory selection (which doesn’t include some of Xiaomi’s more interesting creations), and no smartphones, Xiaomi isn’t exactly making a splash with its U.S. launch. Still, it’s a significant step for a company that has become one of the largest phone makers through its Asia sales alone.