Xiaomi smartphones and other products are not officially available in many countries. Yet many of you are importing them from China.



Who is Xiaomi?

You can interview anyone on the street, only a few technophiles will know about this company. Yet, Xiaomi is a Chinese giant with a ferocious appetite. Moreover, Xiaomi pronounced Sha-o-mi, which can be translated as “petit riz” in Mandarin Chinese.

Xiaomi was established in 2010, and at its head is Lei Jun, a Chinese billionaire. It is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in China. Eight years ago, he announced that he had identified three key areas for investment: mobile Internet, e-commerce and social. He is the co-founder of Joyo.com (sold to Amazon in 2004) and is also part of the Kingsoft (software) adventure. Note that he is also the founder of YY, a Chinese social network.


By creating Xiaomi Tech, Lei Jun has a goal. Create a high-quality phone that is sold at prices significantly lower than the competition. In its sights: Apple and Samsung. He said in an interview that he had two aspirations: a Chinese society of traditional medicine which has just celebrated its 340 years of existence, it is called Tong Ren Tang as well as the company Hai Di Lao. Lei Jun said the two companies have taught him to never produce substandard products for reasons of cost, as well as the importance of customer service.

Xiaomi is also the creator of MIUI. As an enthusiast of the little green man, you should definitely know this Android interface. MIUI is an Android ROM totally modified, we do indeed recognize more truly Android.



Each week, the MIUI developer team deploys a more or less important update. These ROMs can be installed on many smartphones, including best-sellers. Many of you have succumbed to these ROMs, they are famous for having many dedicated applications and a customizable interface, it is possible to download thousands of themes.


Why import a Xiaomi smartphone?


Originals, successful and above all possessing a very relevant quality/price ratio, the products of the Chinese brand have managed to win the hearts of Asian consumers, from China to India. And seen from Europe, there are times to envy those users who have easy access to Xiaomi products.

Smartphone products, not just smartphones, have excellent value for money. Many of you are importing smartphones, tablets, and accessories, box TV, external batteries, Wi-Fi routers, but also home automation products. While waiting for Xiaomi to launch its products in Europe, please start by reading the various precautions to take as well as our tips, before launching.



What you need to know

Before you get started, there are a number of rules, tips, and precautions to know. Be careful not to be too enthusiastic: Xiaomi products are still mainly reserved for European savvy consumers, you need to know what you buy.


  • The 4G LTE frequency bands

The vast majority of Xiaomi smartphones are not compatible with the frequency bands used in Europe. This means that your smartphone will not take advantage of the entire 4G network of European operators. This is mainly the 800 MHz band (the FDD-LTE B20 band), are pleased with for 4G, while it is not supported in China.

Concretely, if you are at Orange and SFR, you will not have the 4G networks of your operator as soon as the installation rests on this band. However, Free uses it very little for its 4G, and Bouygues less than its two historical competitors. Obviously, your Xiaomi smartphone will work, but you may encounter some worries in some areas. It is possible that some Xiaomi smartphones are compatible with the 800 MHz band, as these smartphones were designed for countries other than China.


  • The Mi ecosystem, ROMs, and translations

If Xiaomi smartphones are designed for China, the vast majority of texts are in Chinese. That is one of the main problems for us. Fortunately, the international Xiaomi community is important and offers solutions. MIUI, the interface that the Xiaomi offer, is a fork of Android. Xiaomi uses the Android code but customizes his experience.




You will need to install Google solutions on your phone, including the Play Store, or opt for a ROM that integrates them. A little further down in the article, we give you the first tracks.

As for the other accessories, mistrust. The connected bracelets take advantage of apps translated by the community. However, configuring a Wi-Fi router is hazardous. Finally, the good news is that serious import sites often display languages automatically included in the phone.


    • Malware

This is what happened to FrAndroid: we imported a Xiaomi product, directly equipped with a ROM in French language and with the Google Play Services installed directly. Convenient. However, the smartphone had much pre-boarded malware, which forced us to reinstall the ROM completely.


  • The adapters

China has different electrical outlets. Most of the time, Xiaomi products still work with US chargers. The voltage 220 V is different in China and is lower than in France (230 V), but this does not cause problems.

Indeed, the manufacturers took into account the difference, a principle of tolerance. So you can use all your devices.  Finally, for smartphones: they use standard connectors, such as micro USB and USB Type-C. No worries for you.


    • The guarantee, a thorny issue

It is the eternal question and the anguish of the buyer who spent high in a high-tech product: and if my product breaks down or does not like me? And unfortunately, there is no ready answer to this question. In fact, it all depends on the shop and the manufacturer of the phone.


Shipping and customs charges, and payment

If you buy a Xiaomiphoneoutside the European Union, you should know that customs can check the contents of your package and apply additional taxes. This is the case on smartphones imported from China for example. If customs finds your package at the border, it can apply 20% VAT.