Xiaomi Corp is reportedly acquiring Youmi, a South Korean retailer, as the Chinese smartphone maker looks to compete with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on the latter's home turf.
Xiaomi will buy parts of shares of Youmi, an official retailer of its hardware in South Korea, as part of a memorandum of understanding the two sides have inked, China Business Network said in a report on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, Xiaomi and Youmi will complete details of the investment conditions as soon as possible and formally sign the stock purchase agreement.
Once the deal goes through, Youmi will become a unit of Xiaomi and provide a platform for the Chinese firm to expand its presence in South Korea, the report said.
Xiaomi did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Cooperation between the two sides, however, started as early as 2014.
Youmi, which runs brick-and-mortar stores in seven cities across South Korea, sells a string of Xiaomi accessories and smart products, including battery packs, headphones, and scooters, but no smartphones are included at present.
China Business Network quoted an anonymous executive at Youmi, saying that the company plans to sell about 80 types of Xiaomi's internet of things products in South Korea in 2018.
With a registered capital of 510 million won ($459,000), Youmi last year posted sales of 17.5 billion won in 2016, the report said.
Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of industry website Cctime, said the Youmi deal is part of Xiaomi's broad push to sell products through online and offline retail channels.
"As more efforts are made to beef up its intellectual property portfolios, it is likely that Xiaomi will officially launch smartphones in South Korea," Xiang added.