Hugo Barra, vice president of global operations at Xiaomi Corp., holds Mi 4i smartphones during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
Photograph by Lam Yik Fei — Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Chinese handset-maker will make its first overseas move in Latin America.

By Robert Hackett
June 30, 2015

Leader of the Fortune Unicorn pack Xiaomi—a $46 billion mobile device-maker—entered Brazil on Tuesday. The arrival represents the company’s first market expansion for its smartphones outside of Asia.

Vice president of global operations Hugo Barra, a Brazilian himself as well as a former Android exec at Google, announced his homecoming: “I am thrilled to finally introduce Xiaomi’s amazing products to my hometown, Brazil,” he told an audience in Sao Paulo, Recode reports.

The company has begun assembling the handsets inside the South American market in order to circumvent the country’s high tariffs on imports. It has partnered with contract manufacturer Foxconn, which has been making iPhones on behalf of Apple AAPL in Brazil since 2011, according to Reuters.

The strategy may help the ascendent budget phone maker tap into the booming Internet economy in Brazil, which boasts a population of 200 million, TechCrunch notes. The company’s Redmi 2 smartphone will be available there starting on July 7 for about $160.

 

“We already had a very engaged community of Mi fans in Brazil before our launch today, and many of them have been eagerly looking forward to getting their hands on our products,” Barra said at the event. “I strongly believe that Redmi 2 will be a game changer in the Brazilian market, offering consumers a quality option never seen before in this price category.”

Customers in Europe and the U.S. have been able to buy Xiaomi accessories through the company’s official store since the beginning of June. The company’s Mi phones, however, are only available in few markets including China and India. Next up, the company is prioritizing markets such as Russia, Turkey, and others.

 

For more on the explosion of Chinese phone makers, read Fortune writer Scott Cendrowski’s feature “Enter the Dragon,” which appeared in the March 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.

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