Investigate the gray market in order to respect more closely the international sanctions in force against certain countries. This is the dual objective of Xiaomi, which has confirmed that it has temporarily blocked its smartphones in several regions, including Iran, Cuba, Syria and North Korea.
A Spanish Xiaomi store, for illustration // Source: Xiaomi
Xiaomi smartphones have been blocked in some markets where the brand does not have a presence. This is what we learned this weekend from the Chinese media Global Times, which reports that Xiaomi has locked its smartphones in countries and regions such as Iran, Cuba, Syria, Crimea, Sudan or even the North Korea. So many territories targeted to varying degrees by international sanctions, in which Xiaomi has no official presence and which nevertheless take advantage of the gray market to get their hands on devices sold, in other countries, by the Chinese manufacturer. .
As a reminder, in its policy, Xiaomi does not allow its customers to export products to these countries and regions, but this ban has not prevented traffic from being organized. It is to fight against the purchase of phones in one region, and their end use in another, that Xiaomi has decided to crack down.
American pressure on Xiaomi?
The firm explains that this blocking measure was applied to protect the security of the data of its users, but also the rights of the consumer. Some observers nonetheless see it as a sign of American pressure on the brand to force it to act against the trafficking of its products to countries under international sanctions.
The brand speaks for its part of a “temporary” blocking of the mobiles concerned, the time of an investigation, and even explains that this blocking is now over. "The investigation obtained significant results, and the devices concerned can be unlocked now," notably promised a spokesperson for Xiaomi quoted by the Global Times.
As a reminder, the United States is keeping an eye on Chinese technology brands and the sometimes murky commercial ties they may have with sanctioned countries. Last year, Reuters published an investigation in this regard suggesting that Huawei circumvented the US embargo imposed on Iran through Skycom Tech, an entity that Huawei initially presented as a partner, but which is in fact a wholly subsidiary. managed by the group.