Xiaomi has entered the UK market with three smartphones, a fitness tracking wristband and an electric soccer making its product line-up.
It is also opening a shop in London’s Westfield Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre, which also has an Apple store.
Xiaomi, the world’s fourth bestselling handset maker already operates in Western Europe, where it is also active in Spain, France, and Italy.
The Chinese brand is known for competitively pricing its products and prioritizing volume over profit markup.
Earlier this year, it declared it would limit its hardware products’ net profit margin to 5% to help build customer confidence in their brand.
Only Huawei’s smartphone is outperforming Xiaomi on sales among the major manufacturers, according to IDC, a market research firm.
Xiaomi’s electric scooter will go on sale in the UK, despite the fact it cannot be legally used along roads or in other public spaces
Xiaomi will be leading its entry into the market with its Mi 8 Pro that will be selling at a competitive price below what’s common among premium models like Sony, Samsung, HTC, Apple and Huawei. The price will start at £499.
The Mi 8 Pro is an android phone with a rear fingerprint sensor and a 6.2 display. It has a chic transparent glass rear from which some of its components can be seen.
Xiang Wang, Xiaomi co-founder has also revealed the company plans to expand its range in the UK and might launch its sub-brand Poco.
He also revealed the company may engage some promotional initiatives like it’s traditional ‘flash sales’ later in the future to drive awareness.
Xiaomi operates more than 100 stores in China and aims to have 1,000 by 2020
When Xiaomi enters a country they almost always grow very fast’ commented Neil Mawston, from the consultancy Strategy Analytics.
‘That’s happened in India, Indonesia, and Russia and now we’re seeing it grow very quickly in Spain.
‘Those most at risk of losing sales to them in the UK include Samsung, Huawei, TCL Alcatel, LG, and ZTE – Apple is probably safe because it plays in much higher price tiers.’
Another expert added that it would be a mistake solely to focus on the company’s smartphone ambitions.
‘It’s jaw-dropping the number of products that Xiaomi makes,’ said Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy.
‘When you go to one of its stores in Hong Kong it’s incredible – there’s everything from robot vacuum cleaners to smart lamps to air purifiers to electric toothbrushes.
‘But the big question for me is whether this is a market too far given that there is already an unprecedented level of competitive intensity here, particularly among smartphones.’
Other analysts think different especially when the impact of Brexit on Consumer spending is considered.
‘After the UK leaves the European Union, we may see consumers rein back on discretionary spending, resulting in a falling average sales price moving forward,’ said James Smith, from Futuresource Consulting.
‘Should the consumer wallet be squeezed… we may see increasing demand for mid-range handsets, a market in which Xiaomi has a very strong offering.’