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US lifts Trump ban on Xiaomi mobile phones

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

UPDATE: Xiaomi has now officially been removed from the White House blacklist. The US courts announced this week that they had cleared Xiaomi's designation as a Communist Chinese Military Company (CCMC).

“The US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a final order vacating the US Department of Defense’s designation of the company as a CCMC,” Xiaomi announced.

Xiaomi’s chairman Lei Jun said, “The company reiterates that it is an open, transparent, publicly traded, independently operated and managed corporation."

According to Verdict, Xiaomi’s share prices rose 1.44% after the announcement, closing at HK$28.15 / $3.63.

Several Chinese telecommunications companies remain blacklisted by the US government, including Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology.

ORIGINAL STORY (16 May 2021): The US government has agreed to lift a Trump-era ban on Chinese technology company Xiaomi. The smartphone giant was added to the US military list of alleged Chinese military companies in January, which blocks US investment in the company.

During his last days in office, President Trump’s administration added Xiaomi to the US military list under the National Defense Authorization act of 1999, designating the firm as a Communist Chinese Military Company, which would have led to a de-listing from US exchanges and deletion from global benchmark indexes. 

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Xiaomi denied its connection to the Chinese military and sued to be removed from the list two weeks after it was added. In March, a US court temporarily halted the ban and stated that it was likely that Xiaomi would win a full reversal and issued the injunction to prevent the company from suffering irreparable harm. 

It is unclear if Xiaomi’s removal will make it easier to purchase its smartphones in the US. While there is a lot of interest in smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, purchasing them in the US can be difficult.

The US military list of alleged Chinese military companies is different from the ‘economic blacklist’ which blocks American companies from exporting parts to specific companies. While this blacklist doesn’t prevent products from being sold in the US, it can make it harder for a company to do business there. 

Consumer drone manufacturer DJI was added to the list in December but does not yet seem to have suffered as a consequence, although Huawei is still reeling after being banned from using the Google Play store and new Android operating systems, and is struggling to source the parts it needs to produce devices.

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