[Update: Xiaomi says it’s not targeting any specific market] Xiaomi is proactively blocking devices in certain regions to comply with export regulations
Xiaomi doesn’t have an official presence in several countries, including the US. But the company doesn’t stop you from importing its devices to unsupported regions. If you import a Xiaomi device to any such region, it should work without any issues, provided it supports your carrier’s bands. However, that won’t be the case if you reside in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, or Crimea.
Although Xiaomi’s export policy prohibits the sale of its smartphones in the regions mentioned above, the company didn’t proactively block people’s devices if they imported them to these regions. But, of late, Xiaomi has been doing just that.
For the past few weeks, Xiaomi has been proactively blocking users from provisioning their phones if they live in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, or Crimea, in order to comply with export regulations and stop resellers. https://t.co/51AdXIMgnW
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) September 9, 2021
The reports suggest that after a few days of use, users in these regions are locked out of their phones, and they see the following message on the lockscreen:
Xiaomi policy does not permit sale or provision of the product to the territory in which you have attempted to activate it. Please contact the retailers directly for additional information.
A few users on our forums suggest that the issue is limited to devices activated in the regions mentioned above. They claim that it shouldn’t affect devices that were activated in their intended country of sale. But we can’t verify this claim at the moment. Interestingly, the issue doesn’t seem to affect users who have installed a custom ROM on their Xiaomi device.
It’s worth noting that Xiaomi’s Terms and Conditions clearly state that it prohibits buyers from exporting phones to select regions. However, it doesn’t specify that it will block phones exported to those regions.
14.2 The Contract and all Products sold are subject to applicable export control laws, including but not limited to the export control laws of. the US and Buyer’s own jurisdiction. The Buyer will not export any product purchased from the Seller to any country or territory or anywhere if the export control laws forbid it . Prohibited countries and territories include Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and the Crimea region. If the Buyer plans to export any Products purchased from the Seller to another country, the Buyer you must obtain the required export licenses (or other government approvals) before doing so.
Update: Xiaomi says it’s not targeting any specific market
In response to the aforementioned reports, Xiaomi has released a statement claiming that it’s “not targeting any specific markets.” A company spokesperson recently told Global Times that its move to block devices “is a cross-regional governance that aims to prevent smuggling through the grey market and protect user data security.”
The Xiaomi spokesperson also said that the company has “temporarily” locked some smartphones to prevent and investigate smuggling. “The investigation has achieved significant results, and the affected devices can be unlocked now,” they added.
At the moment, it isn’t clear if or when Xiaomi will unlock the affected devices. We’ll make sure to let you know as soon as we have more information.