Xiaomi launches in South Africa in Sept
When it comes to the world of mobile phones, we tend to recognise a few brand names that are in our country. Apple, Samsung, Huawei, BlackBerry, HTC, Alcatel, Nokia are the ones that we mainly know in South Africa. However, there are many more brands. Today, anyone with enough money can hope on a plane to China and assemble their own brand of a mobile phone as all the components can be purchased. These “white labelled” brands add even more names to the growing list of phones available on the market which makes it hard to trust phones which are not “brand name” phones.
There is one brand that is not well known outside of China and it only a couple of years old known as: Xiaomi.
Can this Android based Mobile phone compete with the others in an already saturated market ?
Who is Xiaomi ?
This is a company that was launched in 2010 by 8 founders and launched their first phone, the Xiaomi-One only in August 2011. Since then the company has gone onto become the “Apple of China” as in the fist half of 2014, the company sold more smartphones than it did in the whole of 2013. In first quarter of 2014, the company has had a valuation of earnings of $5.3-billion USD.
Xiaomi has attributed its success to several factors:
- It sells directly to the public.
- It sells more than just phones with it own range of accessories, TVs, headphones, Power bank, Internet Service, Routers, Tablet, Smart TV and even set-top box for movies and entertainment.
- It doesn’t bring out more mobile phones and keeps selling the same units for longer than its competitors. This allows the price of the components to fall over time and thereby increase their profit
- It does no traditional marketing at all. Xiaomi succeeds by word of mouth and loyal fans. The company uses social media extensively to interact with their fan base which resonates perfectly with their customers.
- Xiaomi’s Vice President of International is Hugo Barra . Hugo was VP at Google’s Android division and was poached by Xiaomi. This was superb move to not only give the brand credibility outside of China but also gain an important understanding of international markets
As Xiaomi expands outside of China, it is dropping its Chinese name to just Mi which makes it easier for people to say and relate to. They also paid a whopping $3.4 million in 2014 for the domain name mi.com so clearly they see value in this name-change.
Xiaomi Coming to South Africa
According to an exclusive by Toby Shapshak, “Xiaomi has appointed Mobile in Africa Limited as sole distributor for the 50 countries that constitute sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s president is renowned tech entrepreneur RJ van Spaandonk, most recently executive director of Core Group, which distributes Apple in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa”
Toby confirms that there will be two models sold at launch: “the Red Mi 2 (costing $160 / ZAR1,999, including import duties in South Africa) and the Mi 4 ($320 / ZAR3,999)”
Red Mi 2Price and specs:
- Battery: Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery
- Rear Camera: 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash with 1080p @ 30fps
- Front Camera: 2 MP, [email protected]
- Memory: 16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM
- Operating System: Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.4 (KitKat)
- Processing Power: Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait
- Display: 4.3 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
- Size: 126 x 62 x 10.2 mm
- Weight: 145 g
Price: R1 999
Mi 4 Price and Specs:
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3080 mAh battery
- Rear Camera:13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 1/3” sensor size, 1.12µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], HDR
- Front Camera: 8 MP, [email protected]
- Memory: 16/64 GB, 3 GB RAM
- Operating System: Android OS, v4.4.3 (KitKat)
- Processing Power: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801, Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
- Display: 5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels, IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- Size: 139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 149 g
Price: R3 999
Can Xiaomi Succeed in South Africa ?
At these prices, the Mi range is competing head on with other Android based phones in a market that is already brand sensitive. However, South Africans are already used to seeing Chinese brand on the shelves with marketing by Huawei taking over cellular phone shops and high-way billboards.
It will take great marketing and education to earn the trust of South Africans but the time is ripe. The smartest move of all, is partnering with RJ van Spaandonk which instantly instils trust; not only in the brand but the aftercare service. This will be a big market disruptor.