Xiaomi launches mid-range flagship amidst challenges
By Edwin Yapp March 21, 2019
- Aiming to score with US$150 segment of market
- Rivals ramping up and competition will be stiff
NEWS ANALYSIS: CHINESE phone maker Xiaomi Corp took the gloves off its latest smartphone, the Redmi Note 7, a device which the company claims is its “biggest upgrade ever,” and which offers a “flagship-level experience” at a cost-affordable price.
Speaking during the launch on March 19, country manager for Xiaomi Malaysia and Singapore Allen An said the latest iteration of its smartphone will retail at RM679 (3GB RAM, 32GB storage), a price that he said is unmatchable given the specifications of the device.
“Our aim is to offer high quality devices at an honest price,” he said.
Besides the 3GB RAM, 32GB storage version, the Redmi Note 7 also comes with the 4GB/64GB at RM799 while the 4GB/128GB cost RM949. There will be three colours on offer: Neptune Blue, Space Black and Nebula Red.
The Redmi Note 7 is a mid-range smartphone targeting the sub-RM1,000 smartphone segment. The device comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, a 6.3-inch FHD display, and a 48MP rear camera on a 1/2-inch sensor, that offers night mode capabilities.
An believes that Xiaomi has always had the edge for bringing quality products at an affordable price, and the Redmi Note 7 is the continuation of this practice. This is what differentiates Xiaomi from the rest of the field, he added.
An’s confidence was evident at the launch when he openly compared the specifications and pricing of rival brands such as Samsung and Huawei for all to see. The company is also banking on the build quality of the Redmi Note 7 as it is offering an 18-month warranty instead of the usual 12-month warranty for most smartphones.
“We believe in this product and that’s why we’re offering such a deal for the Redmi Note 7,” he said.
So what’s behind this launch?
According to Tarun Pathak (pic, above), associate director of Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi has been growing at almost two times year-over-year from 2017 to 2018 in Southeast Asia (SEA) and this bodes well for the company.
“Almost 12% of its total shipments now comes from SEA, third after China and India,” he told Digital News Asia in an interview.
“With the Redmi Note 7, Xiaomi is aiming to ramp up its presence in the sub-US$150 segment which is growing fast in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.”
Pathak said however, that competition in SEA will continue to grow, as Samsung and other Chinese players are looking to fill in the gap created by the decline of local smartphone players in these markets.
Besides competition, the challenge for Xiaomi is that SEA countries have very different cultures and market behaviour and it will need to navigate these nuances carefully in order to succeed.
“Markets such as Thailand and Malaysia are more mature compared to the Philippines, Myanmar or Indonesia, and so distributor partnerships will be the key.”
At the event, An also unveiled the Redmi 7, the younger, cheaper sibling to the Redmi Note 7, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset. It sports a 6.26-inch HD display with 4-sided curved gradient design. It has a 12MP rear camera with 1.25μm pixels sensor, 4,000mAh battery and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for its front display.
Redmi 7 will be available in two versions. The 2GB+16GB version will retail for RM 499 and the 3GB+32GB version will retail for RM 599, and will come in three colours; Comet Blue, Eclipse Black and Lunar Red.
Both Redmi Note 7 and Redmi 7 will be available at Mi Stores, Lazada and Shopee from March 27.
Also at the launch, An revealed the Mi Smart Sensor Set, comprising two Mi Motion Sensors, two Mi Window and Door sensors, a Mi Wireless Switch and a Mi Control Hub as a multi-function Zigbee gateway.
The Mi Smart Sensor Set is now available for RM329 and can be purchased at Mi stores. Meanwhile, the Mi Home Security Camera 360° 1080P is a home surveillance camera that offers 24x7 home protection with 360° coverage of your entire home.
Equipped with night vision, intelligent motion detection, real-time two-way talk, users can monitor their home’s real-time status at any time, and retails for RM159, at Mi stores. Lastly, the Mi LED Smart Bulb, an adjustable colour temperature and brightness bulb that retails for RM99 and now available at Mi stores.