China's Xiaomi readies for SA smartphone launch

Lei Jun, chair of Xiaomi, takes a selfie on the Xiaomi Note smartphone. (Ng Han Guan, AP)
Lei Jun, chair of Xiaomi, takes a selfie on the Xiaomi Note smartphone. (Ng Han Guan, AP)

Cape Town – Xiaomi, the Chinese brand which is regarded as the “Apple of the East”, is bringing its Redmi 2 and Mi 4 to South Africa through a distribution partnership with MIA Group.

Xiaomi, which primarily operates in China, has this year become the world's third largest phone maker after Samsung and Apple, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

IDC data released last week shows that Xiaomi has a global market share of 5.6% even though it primarily targets Asia.

The company has also made a name for itself in creating mid-range Android phones at low cost and now it's targeting Africa.

“We see Africa as the next frontier for smartphone growth and we are excited to be partnering with MIA Group to offer consumers in these three countries our high-quality smartphones at amazing prices,” said Raymond Tian, Xiaomi global strategy director.

The smartphones are expected to be available in South Africa by the middle of November though local pricing is still unclear.

“We’ve seen a strong response to the products based on preliminary discussions with partners, and we look forward to providing consumers with these new high-end smartphone options at incredible price points,” said RJ van Spaandonk, president of MIA Group.

In India, the Mi 4 sells for around $225, putting it into the mid-price smartphone segment.

The Mi 4 flagship device has a 12.7cm (5 inch) display and stainless steel frame. It’s main camera is rated at 13 megapixel (MP) with an 8MP front facing shooter.

It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz processor and 3GB of RAM. It comes in 16GB and 64GB flavours of memory. There is no micro-SD card slot.

The Redmi 2 is slightly smaller at 11.9cm (4.7 inches) and has an 8MP main camera.




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