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Xiaomi targets premium market with new handsets

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2016-10-26 07:25

Xiaomi targets premium market with new handsets

Actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai (left) and Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi Corp, show Mi Note 2 smartphones with curved OLED screen in Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Xiaomi Corp unveiled its first lineup of above-3,000 yuan ($440) handsets on Tuesday, targeting business people and tech-savvy consumers, as the smartphone maker moves to crack the premium segment, suddenly full of opportunity in the wake of Samsung Electronics Co's smartphone recall crisis.

The Mi Note 2 comes with a 5.7-inch curvy display, a feature usually seen in Samsung's flagship handsets. It signals an important shift in the company's strategy of offering young consumers affordable smartphones.

The handset is equipped with a 22.56 million pixel rear camera, better than many rival products. The phone starts from 2,799 yuan with 64-gigabyte storage. But for versions with bigger capacity, prices go beyond 3,200 yuan.

"We have already reshaped the smartphone industry by offering qualify smartphones at affordable prices," said Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi. "In the future, we will revolutionize the industry by pushing the envelope of technologies," he added.

The move came after Samsung recalled its newly launched Galaxy Note 7 to prevent further battery explosions, giving Chinese firms a good opportunity to enter into the high-end sector.

At the product launch in Beijing, Xiaomi also unveiled a concept phone called MIX, whose display features a 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio, arguably the highest on any smartphone.

An analyst said the signs were good for the product.

"MIX is quite impressive and demonstrates that Xiaomi is in a leading position to experiment with new technologies," said Jin Di, research manager at International Data Corp China.

"But it takes long time for a company to really enter into the high-end market."

To rebrand its corporate image, Xiaomi also hired Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai to endorse the flagship handset Note 2.

Xiaomi is working hard to revive tumbling smartphone sales as the Beijing-based firm faces mounting competition from rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co and Oppo Electronics Corp.

James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said the two new handsets were beyond his expectations.

"Xiaomi has been at a low for a year. The two models can give a big boost to its brand image and rekindle many consumers' love for Xiaomi," Yan said.


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