Xiaomi heads to Brazil

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Xiaomi took its first steps outside of Asia after launching its business in Brazil.

The company, which was valued at $45 billion during a funding round in 2014, will start selling its Redmi 2 smartphone for R$499 ($160) from next week in Brazil. This is almost half the price of comparable smartphones offered by rivals such as Motorola and Samsung.

Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra announced the launch of the phone during a packed event at a shopping mall in Sao Paulo. The former Google Android executive said that as the world’s fourth biggest smartphone market, Brazil is the company’s stepping stone in Latin America

Hundreds of fans lined up for the event, and thousands of Brazilians had already downloaded the MiUI software before the smartphones even went on sale.

“There was a lot more enthusiasm and people than we ever thought possible,” said Barra.

The online community has been instrumental in the company’s growth in Asia, where more than 60 million Xiaomi smartphones were sold last year. This is because the company primarily sells its devices online rather than in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, helping to keep costs low.

Due to the high import duties in Brazil, Xiaomi has partnered with Foxconn, who will assemble the Redmi phones locally.

“I strongly believe that Redmi 2 will be a game-changer in the Brazilian market, offering consumers a quality option never seen before in this price category,” said Barra.

“And this is only the start of our journey — as our business in Brazil grows, we will be bringing in a greater variety of exciting Mi products.”

In addition to the Redmi smartphones, other Xiaomi products will also be offered for sale, including a portable mobile charger and a fitness band.

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