Xiaomi ventured into western Europe with a grand launch event on November 7 in the Spanish capital of Madrid. This is part of the Chinese smartphone maker’s ambitious plan to transform into a globally recognized brand.

Revealed at the event were two smartphone models for the Spaniards—the €499 bezel-free MIX 2 and the €229 Mi A1 powered by Google Android One—and other ecosystem products including the Mi Electric Scooter, the Mi Box, the Mi Action Camera 4K, and the Mi Band. The Beijing-headquartered company will be opening two authorized Mi shops in Madrid on November 11, the day when China will be celebrating the world’s largest shopping festival, Singles Day.

Xiaomi is working with electronics distributor Ingram Micro and Alibaba’s global delivery system AliExpress to further its European footprints. Spanish consumers had been buying Xiaomi phones even before the official localization, drawn to the brand’s budget-friendly models. An online-only retail has helped keep Xiaomi’s operational costs low, but Xiaomi has also started to embrace the “new retail” trend to include offline sales, which has contributed to its comeback this year.

“Spanish fans have given a lot of support to Xiaomi throughout the years. We are very happy to be launching in Spain and serving local Xiaomi fans,” says Wang Xiang, senior vice president who leads the supply chain and intellectual property teams at Xiaomi.

Huawei is the other Chinese smartphone titan pushing hard into overseas markets. In July, the Shenzhen-headquartered manufacturer overtook Apple to become the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker, according to data from Counterpoint Research. Its meteoric rise is attributed to sales in China, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Besides being affordable, Huawei has been credited for “out-smarting and out-spending rivals in sales channels, go-to-market, and marketing promotion strategies,” says Counterpoint’s associate director.

Xiaomi has also launched in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil.

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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