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Xiaomi smartphones may hit the US in late 2018 or early 2019

The Chinese device maker edges closer to bringing its phones to the US, with CEO Lei Jun finally getting somewhat specific.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

Xiaomi, which has entered other Western smartphone markets, plans to expand into the US. 

César Salza / CNET

Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has been talking about expanding to the US for years, but has never said exactly when.

The company has now narrowed it down a little. Xiaomi's phones could arrive as soon as late this year or early 2019, CEO Lei Jun told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Xiaomi didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

"We hope to be an immediate success in the US so we need a lot of time and careful preparation to achieve that," Jun said to reporters in December.

Xiaomi is also planning an initial public offering later this year. The company was the world's No. 5 smartphone vendor in the third quarter of 2017. It already sells some of its other products in the US, including the Mi Box set-top box, fitness trackers and watches, and smart home devices. In January, the Facebook-owned Oculus said it's teaming up with Xiaomi to make a standalone VR headset for China.