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What is Xiaomi? A guide to the next big smartphone maker

You might have heard of Xiaomi before, but what exactly is it, and what does it do? Here is everything you need to know.

Xiaomi is a Chinese electronics manufacturer that has grown significantly in recent years. You may well have heard of the brand from its range of smartphones, including the Xiaomi 12 Pro, or for its smartwatches such as the Xiaomi Watch S1.

When was Xiaomi founded?

The manufacturer was founded in 2010 and launched its UK operations in 2018, and since then has won a good reputation for the quality of its devices, as well as for reasonable prices across its range.

Its modern devices have always performed well when we’ve gotten them in for testing and have become regular entries in our best phones, best smartwatch and best tablet guides.

As you can see from the graph published above by Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi is one of the biggest smartphone companies in the world by revenue, coming in fourth place in 2021 just behind Oppo, though well behind Apple and Samsung.

What does Xiaomi make?

Xiaomi started out as a mobile phone maker, but it has expanded its focus to include numerous other product categories.

Its latest flagship smartphone series is currently led by the Xiaomi 12 Pro, with the Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12X being similar but slightly cheaper alternatives.

Along with this series, Xiaomi also has a couple of sub-brands to its name; Poco and Redmi. Devices in these ranges include the Poco X4 Pro and the Redmi Note 11, which are cheaper but nonetheless do offer some impressive specifications.

All of its phones run on the Android operating system, with most running a user interface named MIUI, with the latest version being MIUI 13. Beyond phones, the brand has also manufactured smartwatches and fitness trackers, from the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 to the Xiaomi Watch S1 and Xiaomi Watch S1 Active. Branching out further afield, and Xiaomi has even put its name to a robotic assistant called the CyberDog, and a range of electric scooters.

Was it affected by the US / Huawei executive order?

Xiaomi was not affected by the US sanctions against fellow Chinese manufacturer Huawei, so you can access Google Mobile Services as usual via its devices.

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