Three of Finland's largest mobile carriers, Telia, DNA, and Elisa, have suspended sales of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi (OTC:XIACF)'s products as of Thursday. This decision comes in response to the company's continued operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this year, Xiaomi was labeled an "international sponsor of war" by the National Agency of Corruption Prevention in Ukraine. Telia cited this designation as a primary reason for discontinuing cooperation with the Chinese firm. The company plans to sell only the already stocked products and has no intention of purchasing new devices.
DNA has confirmed the suspension of all Xiaomi product sales. The carrier's CEO, Sami Aavikko, expressed dissatisfaction with Xiaomi's handling of the situation in Russia to Suomimobiili. Plans are in place not to replenish stocks once the current devices sell out.
Elisa, on the other hand, will limit its range of Xiaomi devices but has not completely suspended sales.
The first Finnish retailer to suspend Xiaomi sales was Veikon Kone during the summer. However, it later reversed its decision when competitors didn't follow suit. The retailer currently has no plans to add new models to its stores.
Other Finnish retailers such as Gigantti and Verkkokauppa have confirmed their continued sale of Xiaomi products, stating that they will do so until further notice since the EU has not banned Xiaomi.
This decision by Finnish carriers follows a series of setbacks for Xiaomi's European business earlier in 2023. In March and April, Poland and Lithuania banned the sale of its products, and the European Union imposed sanctions on Xiaomi's CEO, Lei Jun.
The sanctions against Xiaomi form part of a broader EU effort to pressure Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. The EU has also banned the export of a wide range of goods to Russia, including semiconductors essential for smartphone production.
Xiaomi's continued presence in Russia has stirred controversy. While the company argues that it has a responsibility to its Russian customers and employees, critics argue that it provides financial support to the Russian government.
The implications of the Finnish decision could be far-reaching for Xiaomi, potentially affecting its revenue, market share, and reputation in Europe. Furthermore, it could lead to increased pressure from other European governments to suspend sales of Xiaomi smartphones.
For the European smartphone market, this could mean reduced competition and increased demand for other brands, potentially benefiting manufacturers such as Samsung (KS:005930), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Huawei. It could also lead to increased scrutiny of other Chinese companies operating in Europe.
Xiaomi representatives have not commented on these developments.
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