Xiaomi just suspended all sales in its second-biggest market

No more Xiaomi in India.
No more Xiaomi in India.
Image: Reuters/Jason Lee
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Xiaomi has been forced to cease all sales of its devices in India—its biggest market after mainland China—after the Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson accused the Chinese smartphone company of infringing on its patents.

“We have been forced to suspend sales in India until further notice due to an order passed by the Delhi High Court. As a law abiding company, we are investigating the matter carefully and assessing our legal options,” said Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president of international operations, in a Facebook post.

Ericsson has accused Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone company, of infringing on eight of its patents related to the cellular data standards AMR, 2G and 3G. The Delhi High Court on Dec. 8 ordered Xiaomi to immediately stop selling, importing, manufacturing and advertising its handsets in India.

According to the court order, Ericsson had asked the Chinese smartphone manufacturer to obtain the licenses but Xiaomi went ahead and began selling phones in India without them. “It is unfair for Xiaomi to benefit from our substantial R&D investment without paying a reasonable licensee fee for our technology,” Ericsson said.

Xiaomi has shut down its website in India
Xiaomi has shut down its website in India

The suspension could effectively derail Xiaomi’s ambitious plans to tap into growing demand for its products in India, slated to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world by 2019.   

In July, Xiaomi made a grand debut in India with its flash sales through Flipkart—its only distributor and one of India’s largest e-commerce companies—selling entire batch of Mi 3 handset in under 40 minutes. The company did not disclose the number of units sold.

Xiaomi has sold at least half a million handsets in India as of October, and also launched its Redmi Note phablet in November. ”In the last 2 days alone, we received about 150,000 registrations for Redmi Note on Flipkart and the momentum has been terrific,” said Barra in his Facebook post. It also has plans to start its e-commerce operations in India, and is considering to set up a manufacturing unit in the country.

“Our sincere apologies to all Indian Mi fans! Please rest assured that we’re doing all we can to revert the situation,” said Barra.