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Xiaomi eyes premium smartphone segment

NEW DELHI: Xiaomi, the largest seller of smartphones in India, is attempting to crack the premium market, dominated by Apple, Samsung and OnePlus, by launching the Redmi K20 Pro at 30,999, its most expensive phone so far.

Xiaomi has retained the top spot in India for the past seven quarters, but has near negligible market share in the premium devices category.

It had launched a sub-brand POCO last year where it offered devices upwards of 20,000 but with the new Redmi K20 series launched on Wednesday, the company has taken a step towards capturing the 30,000 plus space.

“We are taking baby steps in this segment. Last year was a success thanks to POCO and now we have launched these flagship devices,” Manu Jain, vice-president, Xiaomi, and managing director, Xiaomi India, told reporters at a round-table, without divulging the number of POCO devices sold.

“We used to do only one flagship earlier as the market was very small. This year, we started seeing some movement in the 20,000 plus category, that market is growing and now we want to focus here,” he said.

The company’s entry into the premium segment is triggered by the intent to launch a high-end product at a comparatively affordable price.

“If you look at the flagship devices market, there was nothing below 45,000,” he said.

Xiaomi has launched the K20 series with four models ranging from 21,999 to 30,999. Redmi K20 Pro, the most expensive phone in the series, is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform, which is the fastest processor in the world. The entire series comes with an AI triple camera setup, comprising of a 48MP main camera, 8MP telephoto and a 13MP wide-angle. It is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery, which can last up to two days in regular usage conditions. The phones boast a USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack and fast-charge support.

However, Xiaomi, which has tasted success in the budget smartphone market, faces a tough task of wooing users in the high-end devices market where brands like Samsung, Apple and OnePlus enjoy intense brand loyalty and customer stickiness is higher compared to the budget devices segment. “The premium market has two kinds of users: one who want the best specs and the second category has users who buy one-lakh-rupee phones as a status symbol. We cannot attract the second kind of users and they will continue to be loyal to those other brands. We can, however, attract the first category,” Jain said.

According to smartphone sales figures for January-March quarter by International Data Corp., Xiaomi led the Indian market with 30.6% market share, followed by South Korea’s Samsung (22.3%), Vivo (13%), OPPO (7.6%) and Realme (6%).

Xiaomi also plans to also replicate its success in the smartphone segment to other categories.

“Our work has just started. Five years ago, our intent was to survive. Now, we want to see if other kinds of products can be made smarter or become automated. Our smartphones business will continue to be our core segment, but we want to make other product categories smart too,” he said.

Source: Livemint