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Xiaomi locks Mi and Redmi phones in prohibited countries as US expansion seems on the cards

The Spanish text reads "this device is locked" - Redmi Note 10S pictured. (Image source: Xiaomi/Reddit/Unsplash - edited)
The Spanish text reads "this device is locked" - Redmi Note 10S pictured. (Image source: Xiaomi/Reddit/Unsplash - edited)
Reports of Xiaomi locking Mi and Redmi-branded phones at an increasing rate have been shared online. It seems the Chinese OEM is targeting devices that have been bought or used in prohibited countries and territories. Xiaomi smartphones are popular in these sanctioned states but increased compliance with US policies indicates a likely expansion plan.
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Xiaomi and Redmi smartphone owners have been taking to the forums on Reddit and XDA Developers to warn others about an apparent uptick in phone locking by the Chinese OEM. Previously, it had been quite straightforward to buy a Xiaomi phone in one region and take it to another without incident (Samsung is known for such region locking that can be bypassed after localized activation). Such an active grey market has actually helped propel Xiaomi into becoming one of the world’s most popular smartphone companies, as its Mi, Redmi, and POCO phones have popped up in almost all corners of the planet. However, the company still hasn’t cracked the lucrative US market yet.

It’s possible that expansion plans for the US market have been put properly in action, as obviously to succeed there Xiaomi will have to closely comply with the country’s rules and regulations. This means not officially selling phones without US Government authorization in the most heavily sanctioned countries and territories: Crimea (region of Ukraine), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Incidentally, this same list of prohibited places appears in Xiaomi’s terms and conditions of sale, with point 14.2 stating: “The buyer may not export any product purchased from the seller to any country or territory or any party if prohibited by export control laws”.

Unfortunately for Mi and Redmi fans in Syria and especially Cuba, where Xiaomi is very popular, there has been an increase in reports of users having their phones locked out of the blue, with a warning notice explaining that the device had been blocked because of international sanction restrictions. It has been noted that mainly Xiaomi and Redmi phones that have been first used in the prohibited destination are being blocked, so activation and usage in the (non-prohibited) country of purchase beforehand should help prevent this locking issue. Resorting to using one of many available custom ROMs may also be a solution for Xiaomi fans.

Buy the Xiaomi Redmi 9 on Amazon

Xiaomi phone locked in Cuba. (Image source: Reddit - u/yn4v4s)
Xiaomi phone locked in Cuba. (Image source: Reddit - u/yn4v4s)

Source(s)

Reddit & XDA Developers via XiaomiAdictos (in Spanish) & Mi UK (T&C: point 14.2)

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Daniel R Deakin
Daniel R Deakin - Managing Editor News - 2496 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
My interest in technology began after I was presented with an Atari 800XL home computer in the mid-1980s. I especially enjoy writing about technological advances, compelling rumors, and intriguing tech-related leaks. I have a degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies and count my family, reading, writing, and travel as the main passions of my life. I have been with Notebookcheck since 2012.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 09 > Xiaomi locks Mi and Redmi phones in prohibited countries as US expansion seems on the cards
Daniel R Deakin, 2021-09-10 (Update: 2021-09-12)