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After Laying its Claim on Budget Segment, Xiaomi Eyes the Premium Smartphone Segment in India

Xiaomi is largely known as a budget smartphone brand in India, however, the Chinese company never ruled out of the premium smartphone segment in the country. Xiaomi is keen on expanding its presence in the booming premium smartphone segment in India, a category that is currently dominated by OnePlus, Apple and Samsung. OnePlus recently became the leader of the premium smartphone segment in India, thanks to its stellar offering in the form of OnePlus 6. Xiaomi, which launched the Mi A2 Android One smartphone yesterday, said its focus remains on ensuring technology is made available to everyone at affordable prices.

“We wanted to ensure that technology is made available to everybody, we were focusing on the biggest pie (under Rs 20,000-phones) and does not mean that we cannot have above Rs 20,000 phones,” Xiaomi Vice President and India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain told PTI.

He added that “time has now come” to launch above Rs 20,000 devices as well. “(This is) because a lot of these people who have been buying our devices will come for an upgrade. We want to give them the right kind of choices,” he said.

Jain explained that the average selling price of smartphones in the Indian market had also gone up to Rs 9,000 from Rs 5,500 about four years ago when the company had entered the Indian market.

Xiaomi currently has Mi Mix 2 priced at Rs 29,999. The Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro (6GB RAM variant) are the second most premium devices in the company’s portfolio. The premium category is estimated to account for less than 10% of the Indian market in terms of shipments. The value contribution, however, is higher. The segment is also growing at a strong pace in India, which is among the largest smartphone markets globally.

Players like Vivo and Honor are also aggressively looking at tapping into the segment with their devices offering premium features. Vivo launched two smartphones priced over Rs 35,000 in the last few months- the Vivo X21 and the Vivo Nex.

According to Counterpoint Research, OnePlus had a 40% share, followed by Samsung (34%) and Apple (14$) in the June 2018 quarter. While the Counterpoint report did not disclose the number of devices shipped under the premium segment, market experts estimate that quarterly smartphone shipments range between 1-1.5 million units.

These three brands contributed to 88% of the premium handset market as compared to 95% a quarter ago.

Xiaomi will not launch the Mi 8 in India, according to various rumours. In fact, the Mi Mix 2S is also not coming to the Indian market. During the end of August 2018 or in early September, Xiaomi is expected to launch a new flagship smartphone under its new sub-brand Pocophone. The smartphone which has been making rounds on the web is the Pocophone F1, which will feature the high-end Snapdragon 845 chipset, up to 8GB of RAM, Liquid Cooling technology, Infrared based Face Unlock functionality and more. Xiaomi will also launch the Mi Mix 3 in China next month. It will be interesting to see if Xiaomi brings it to the Indian market.-Telecom Talk

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