Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 7, its first smartphone under the independent Redmi brand, at an event in China yesterday. During the event, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced that William Lu, the former president of cash strapped smartphone maker, Gionee, will serve as Vice President of Xiaomi Group and general manager of Redmi brand in China. He also added that the company needed two years to persuade the former Gionee chief to drop plans for his own startup and join the fledgling Chinese smartphone maker. Jun further explained why the company needed to make Redmi a standalone entity in its smartphone portfolio.
Jun says as an independent brand, Redmi will continue to pursue of its goal of offering budget devices and focus on the online market. For Xiaomi, the Redmi brand has always focused on the affordable smartphone segment and in an interaction with the media, he said that the company will continue to offer affordable smartphones going forward as well, according to a report by ITHome. He also confirmed that Redmi is working on its own flagship smartphone that will be available at effective price of RMB 2,500 (around Rs 26,000). The Mi brand, on the other hand, is now said to focus on premium high-end devices.
The approach seems similar to what Huawei and Honor have done with their smartphone brands and the strategy has been adopted by brands like Oppo as well, which recently announced Realme as a separate entity to focus on budget and ultra cheap smartphones. Xiaomi lost a record $6 billion during trading in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the last three days and the move will have more transparency to how its individual brands perform in the market.
Watch: Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro First Look
With this move, Xiaomi’s smartphone brands will include the Mi brand, Poco brand, Redmi brand and the Blackshark brand. Lei Jun has clarified that Redmi will focus on affordable smartphones while Poco will focus on affordable flagship smartphones. The Mi brand will target high-end market while Blackshark will target gamers. It needs to be seen how the strategy plays out especially in a time when smartphone shipments are slowing down and the Redmi brand is facing increased competition in markets like India where Honor, Realme are offering more competitive devices.