Days before the end of the Trump administration, the US Department of Defense put Chinese electronics company Xiaomi on a list of “Communist Chinese military companies.” The move could have had major financial implications for Xiaomi if it had taken full effect.

But now the Biden Administration Defense Department says it will remove Xiaomi from the Blacklist.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

The move comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Xiaomi. Bloomberg reports that the US officials have agreed to lift the designation, although specific details haven’t been hashed out yet.

Xiaomi is one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, but the company also makes a wide range of other products including laptops, televisions, media streamers, headphones, charging accessories, robotic vacuum cleaners, smart home products, and wearables (like the Mi Fit activity tracker I’ve had clipped to my belt for the last year and a half).

Only some of those products are sold in the US, but the US restrictions imposed by the Trump administration would have likely taken a heavy toll on the company, as the blacklisting would have required US investors to sell or divest all shares in the company by November.

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  1. By the way, some say Xiaomi’s phone prices are so affordable because they do not pay license and support fees to the likes of Qualcomm, something they would not get away with in the U.S. I don’t believe it. All the Xiaomi phones I owned in Indonesia had mid to high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon chips in them, and they were still affordably priced compared to similar phones in the U.S. It is well known a manufacturer will never get any Qualcomm components without a trusted chain of sources covering their fees in-place before hand.

  2. I used Xiaomi phones for years when I lived in Indonesia, they were affordable, powerful, and covered the odd frequency Indonesian radio bands. It was common knowledge in Indonesia that the native Xiaomi apps were spyware and ad conduits, so where possible nobody used them. The MiUI Android overlay is a bit thick, but not objectionable. Security updates happened promptly and went on seemingly forever. Android version updates where quite slow though. I’m back in the U.S. now and shocked to see the outrageously high cell phone prices here. If Xiaomi directly sold their phones in the U.S. (not through carriers) like they do in the rest of the world, at affordable prices, with long term updates and with local warranty support, Xiaomi would dramatically disrupt the U.S. cell phone market. Actually you can buy black-market Xiaomi phones in the U.S. now through Amazon and sometimes at Brandsmart, but they are all International version phones so the radio bands do not overlap well here in the U.S. If Xaomi is serious about the U.S. market, the radio band coverage problem must be fixed first.

    1. The linked article only says that the default browser is privacy invading; that doesn’t matter much on a platform where you have choice in what browser you use. Beyond that, it is always important to remember that no Android phone (or likely smartphone, for that matter) is fully secure or will fully protect your privacy. That can’t be the sole deciding factor in whether or not the US blacklists a company.

      1. Actually, it does especially if that browser framework is being used in the vendor’s other applications that come preinstalled on the device, which is quite often the case.

        1. Not only that, but the mainstream users don’t typically change key Apps (Phone, Messages, Contacts, Browser, etc). Just ask Samsung.

          And it is a strawman argument to say that nothing is secure or private. There’s a huge difference from “very private” to “not private at all”, and that’s the topic we’re trying to sort. Besides, it isn’t even true, there are some very niche devices that, as far as the data shows, are actually entirely private.

          Overall, I like Xiaomi and their phones. I personally would buy and use their phones, after doing some software modifications. They aren’t tied to their government like Huawei. But that could change very quickly.

          1. Agreed! Xiaomi makes very technically impressive phones and they are quite popular in Brazil (a country I had lived in for a few years a time ago) since they are economically priced and therefore more accessible to the general populace given the price point. They just need to get their privacy issues fully and openly resolved and then they would be perfect.