At first glance, it may seem easy to dismiss Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi (pronounced "shao-mee") as a viable competitor to Apple. The company's phones aren't as technically advanced or simple to use. No one really knows the phones outside of China.
However, there are reasons why Apple might want to watch its back.
1) XIAOMI WANTS TO CONQUER THE EMERGING MARKETS. For most of its four years, Xiaomi has only been in China. However, since Hugo Barra, the former Google executive, joined the company as vice president for global operations, Xiaomi has set its sights on the big emerging markets. It's already started selling in India and, according to Barra, plans to push into Indonesia as well as parts of Latin America.
Countries such as India and Indonesia have big populations with cost-conscious consumers just starting to go mobile. Why not hook them in first with a (relatively) cheap and cheerful Xiaomi Mi smartphone and get them loyal early? Dominate the large, up-and-coming markets with huge growth potential, and you might have a chance to compete one day with the industry titans such as Apple and Samsung in their own backyards.