Overlooked Factors When Buying Xiaomi Products

xiaomi products

Phones/Tablets: Global Version vs. China Version

We don’t usually check whether the ROM on our phone is a global version, especially when we plan to buy Xiaomi products. As a buyer, you noticed the vital details first — processor, memory, and storage. But when you search, you might run into the phrase Global Version upon looking at the specs and wonder why they put it up on the description page.

But what is it exactly, though? Does it matter? If yes, then why?

Xiaomi Sells Two ROM Versions

Global version phones are phones designed specifically to work wherever you are in the world. These universally friendly devices have open operating systems like Android OS that are compatible with Google Play Store and other commonly used tools.

Since Xiaomi is a Chinese brand, the company has been manufacturing two ROM versions of smartphones ever since, the Chinese version and the Global version. Even if they have the same software, there are still key differences to consider.


The Chinese ROM is pretty straightforward. It is the version manufactured to fit the services and networks available in China. Aside from being relatively cheaper, this version of Xiaomi phones has a built-in feature to help you ROOT the device if you want to. It has an app store that works similarly to Google Play Store but offers Chinese apps. It also has the option to change the font style if you want to customize the aesthetics of your phone.

Moreover, this version gets faster updates. And the only languages you can choose are traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, and English.

Chinese apps are optimized to save your battery as well. So even though both versions have the same batteries, you may notice the Chinese version tends to last longer.


The MIUI Global ROM, on the other hand, is made for international users. Its pre-installed apps are usually more common and are often used globally. It can also support Google Play Store, so you can download your favorite apps easily. The system is developed to work properly on foreign network bandwidths as well.

This may be a minor factor, but all the themes, including the high-quality themes (which are only purchased through MI Credits on the Chinese version), are available for free in the Global version. Furthermore, this version has a multi-language feature that includes the most spoken languages, such as English, Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, French, and more. The keyboard’s user interface is also adaptable to the language chosen. It is different compared to the keyboard of its counterpart, making the Global version easier for non-Chinese users.

The final thing to consider is that even though the software updates are delayed and not as frequent as the local version, it supports OTA updates. It is short for Over-The-Air, which means that the software is updated automatically through wireless connections such as Wi-Fi and mobile data. The good thing about this firmware update is that the data is encrypted with a device-specific key and stored in a protected file system, keeping it secure from data breaches and safe from malicious malware and viruses.

How to Check?

You can simply check the version on the description page of the product before buying it online if you are yet to buy one. You can check the box or simply ask when you are in a physical store.

The key features mentioned above are indicators enough to know what version of ROM you already have. If google services are pre-installed and work properly, you obviously have the global version. Plus, if you buy from your local stores, such as Walmart, or online stores like Amazon, Hekka, Lazada, Alibaba, or any non-Chinese store, then it is probably the global version.

However, there are cases where you will wrongfully buy the wrong version suited for you, especially if it’s not declared on the label. So it is important to double-check it from the seller or scroll down the description page and read the reviews. Make sure the version of Xiaomi you are buying is somehow mentioned since there are cases that you missed reading it.

If you already have one and forgot to check, you can visit the official Xiaomi product identification tab here. Fill out the information asked on the tab. You need to look for the IMEI and S/N that are found on the sticker on the back of your phone. You can also do it by dialing #06# and making a call. After completing it, you will receive a message of approval.

Why Have Two?

Google services are mainly not available in China. That means Google Play Store, Google Location Services, Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Meet are off the table. Social media apps like Facebook and YouTube are not available too.

Since Xiaomi is based in China, the company manufactures phones with MIUI Global ROM (apart from its local ROM) as versions sold outside the country. Consumers around the world buy phones to use these services.

Phone users are most likely familiar with either Mac or Android’s interface only. Let us take the relevance of Android, for instance. Xiaomi indeed has its integrated interface called MIUI developed specifically to optimize their phones. Although you will have a different experience using phones with MIUI compared to other phones, Android is still its underlying operating system, and MIUI is just a modified version of its stock operating system. Xiaomi understands the relevance of Google and Android in the global market and is willing to adapt.

One Final Note

Choosing the right version is still up to you. In terms of price, Xiaomi products sold in China are way cheaper. Upon checking, the suggested retail price of Xiaomi 12T Pro Global Version Smartphone starts at roughly around $700 when you buy in Hekka, and on alternative online options like Amazon, it can be $720 or more. On the other hand, you can buy the Chinese version for less than $600.

(Coupon: HEKKA12TPRO)

Xiaomi 12T Pro
8/12GB+256GB Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 200MP Camera 120Hz Display 120W Charge

You also need to consider its availability. If you live outside of China, it makes more sense to buy the global version in order to use Google services. But if you bought the wrong version for yourself, it is not the end. If you chose the cheaper Chinese version, you could still add Google Play Store by installing the APK manually. The same goes for other apps. If you are in China, there are workarounds to still enjoy google and Facebook, like using a VPN.

When you buy the Chinese version for global use, there’s a catch. The major thing to consider is that Chinese consumer laws and return policy are different from what you might expect in your country, so you’d have to take that risk. The other factor is that when you make a major reformat of your storage, the Google apps you installed will disappear, and you’d have to reinstall them from the beginning.

The takeaway here comes down according to what fits your needs and what you can do to maximize the pros and cons of your choice to your advantage. Which version do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.