Xiaomi targets tech-savvy South Africans

Xiaomi smartphone. (Xiaomi)
Xiaomi smartphone. (Xiaomi)

Cape Town – Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi is aiming to target a tech-savvy market in South Africa, says a distributor.

The manufacturer, which has seen success in mainland China for its devices, is bringing the Redmi 2 and Mi 4 to SA through a distribution partnership with MIA Group.

“The phones that we’re bringing in – the Mi 4 and the Red Mi2 – they’re coming in at a very affordable price and I think that is how they’re going to differentiate themselves in this market,” Kerry Taoushiani marketing executive at MIA told Fin24.

She said that the company known as the “Apple of the East” has ambitious plans to grow its footprint in Africa through entering key markets.

“If you look at Xiaomi, they’re not going to Europe; they’re not even in the US. Africa is the biggest continent and growth for smartphones.

“We’re launching in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya first – we see that as the biggest countries in terms of the space for smartphone growth.”

READ: Xiaomi readies for SA smartphone launch


According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Xiaomi has been on a strong growth curve, taking fifth manufacturer spot from LG at 5.6% thanks to growth in China.

The company has also expanded to Brazil and battles for dominance in China with Huawei.

In SA, Samsung dominates the market with 56.6% market share thanks to devices across a wide price spectrum.

READ: Samsung entrenches its SA smartphone dominance

While not directly revealing the retail price in SA, Taoushiani suggested that the handsets would not sell in the premium price category.

“People are not prepared to spend 10, 12, 13 grand on a smartphone; they’re looking for quality. We’re talking to tech-savvy people who know quality when they feel it and I think that’s how they’re going to differentiate themselves.”

IDC shows that phones priced from $100 to $200 showed the healthiest growth, but Taoushiani didn’t hesitate from taking a shot at rivals who sell their phones under operator brand names.

“There’s a lot of white label phones that people just dump in Africa and think that your consumer is going to be stupid and not know the difference. People know and it’s about time that a brand offers the quality that you deserve as a person.”

Do you think Xiaomi will show success in SA? Let us know

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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