Russia-Ukraine row hammers China’s smartphone maker Xiaomi

The world has woken up on 24 February to Russia’s “full-scale invasion of Ukraine”. With air raid sirens echoing in the local air, a market alarm has also soon rung for Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer who saw their planned press conference on the same day in Ukraine go pear-shaped.

According to the post by Xiaomi’s official account on Facebook on 17 February, the company was to unveil its new product line, the “Redmi Note 11” on 24 February in the now invaded country. The post was followed by an update on the day detailing the screen features of its MIUI products. However, as the rocket lit up, the digital space of Xiaomi falls into silence.

Having entered Ukraine in 2016, Xiaomi soon took a foothold in the East-European country with its cost-effective offers. The brand’s local market share soon rose to 17% in 2017, right behind the South Korean competitor Sangsum, and grew to 26.7% by the end of 2018. This allowed them to take first place for smartphone sales and has remained a market leader in the country ever since, as per Canalys, a technology market analysis service provider headquartered in Singapore.

Additionally, the local smartphone industry has shown huge potential, recording a sale of more than 6.9 million units in 2020, during the pandemic, and has seen a 5.9% growth year on year. The strong appetite for these electronic products has naturally made Ukraine a market craved by many relevant brands. However, with the market sinking due to political unrest, market players like Xiaomi are facing uncertainty.


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