Xiaomi hopes to enter US market next year despite rivals' struggle

The Chinese phone maker thinks its American links will help minimize political roadblocks.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
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Sean Keane
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Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang is confident that his company will be able to enter the US market in 2019.

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Xiaomi reportedly plans to enter the US market in 2019, even as its competitors find themselves trapped in a political web.

The Chinese phone company's senior vice president, Wang Xiang, told Reuters Tuesday that Xiaomi is starting work on developing devices for the US.

"Next year we hope we can do something there," he said.

The timeline may face challenges, given massive US political scrutiny on Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei , ZTE and China Mobile. He acknowledged that the tensions created "uncertainty" but expressed confidence that Xiaomi could overcome it.

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"We don't see any reason for us to get into that political problem," he said, citing his company's US links.

He noted Xiaomi's focus on the consumer market -- Huawei, ZTE and China Mobile have carrier networks -- as well as the fact that it employs many American engineers.

Wang was previously head of Qualcomm's Chinese operation, but took over as Xiaomi's global head last year.

The political problems faced by Chinese telecommunications companies come amid rising tensions between the US and China over national security concerns.

On Monday, the Trump administration recommended that the Federal Communications Commission block China Mobile's entrance into the US telecommunications market.

Last week, Republican and Democratic senators joined forces to urge President Trump to reconsider his deal with ZTE, which abruptly saved the embattled phone maker after a US ban.

In June, lawmakers wrote to Google CEO Sundar Pichai -- which partnered with Huawei on instant messaging -- to express concern over Huawei's ties with the Chinese government, saying the relationship posed a threat to US national security.

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