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Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Xiaomi blog: Still on top in India but is growth slowing down?

Xiaomi Blog: Our brand-specific blog to curate the big and small news updates around a certain name in the smartphone space, so that you do not have to go about fishing for the stories.

Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi | Updated: February 3, 2020 5:07:04 pm
Xiaomi, Xiaomi China, Xiaomi India, Xiaomi India blog, Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, Mi 10 Pro specifications, Mi 10 Pro leaks The Xiaomi blog: What’s happening with Xiaomi’s growth in India, and a look at some of the leaks. (Image source: Bloomberg)

Xiaomi is still the leading vendor in India, according to the two latest reports from research firms Canalys and Counterpoint. According to both research firms, Xiaomi managed to ship close to 42 million phones in 2019, but the annual growth was a flat 5 per cent. Compare that to players like vivo, which grew 72 per cent, or Oppo’s 44 per cent growth or Realme’s massive 473 per cent growth and you can’t help but question: ‘Is the Xiaomi juggernaut slowing down in India?’

This single digit growth is also noted in Counterpoint’s analysis, which also shows 5 per cent annual growth. There’s no doubt that while Xiaomi will retain its market leadership in India for sometime, holding onto the crown will get tougher each year. Everyone else is biting at its heels. Technically, if one were to combine Oppo, vivo and Realme, which are all children spawned by the Chinese behemoth BBK Electronics, they are bigger than Xiaomi in India.

In 2020, Xiaomi will have to reboot its strategy to get more customers on board, and to get its older, more loyal, user base to upgrade to the newer devices. Counterpoint predicts 2020 will need some very “specific strategies related to user retention and acquisition respectively”, from Xiaomi.

While Xiaomi has given enough indication that it wants to bring more premium phones in the Indian market with the Mi brand, the shipments and volumes are still driven by phones priced under Rs 20,000. This is where the Redmi series shines and has dominated so far. But it has faced tough competition from Realme, and even vivo, is starting to focus on the online segment with its U series it launched last year.

The most important upgrade for Xiaomi will be the Redmi Note series in 2020. Now, the Redmi Note 8 series launched in October last year, so its been only four months, but going by the previous upgrade cycle of six months, we should expect the new phones by the end of the first quarter or early Q2.

But just how much improvement will Redmi Note 9 offer to customers, given the Note 8 Pro and Note 8 were excellent devices? We will have to wait and see. And don’t forget the Redmi 9 series will have tough competition thanks to the Realme, which is likely a competitor with similar specifications and pricing.

While we know Xiaomi is planning to bring its 108MP camera phone to India next, there’s no clarity on which device this will be. Will it be the Mi Note 10 that launched last year or will Xiaomi surprise with the Mi 10 and bring that to India by the end of the first quarter and challenge the S20 series head-on outside of China?

Right now, the bets are all on the Mi Note 10, because the Mi 10 will be limited to China first, if one goes by the previous sales patterns.

Read our Xiaomi blog from last week | Why Mi Note 10 makes sense in India

Poco X2 launches tomorrow

The Poco X2 is launching tomorrow, and leaks insist it is the Redmi K30 rebranded for India, though we will have to wait and see. It has been one and a half years since we last saw a Poco phone, and there’s a lot of expectation, well at least on Twitter. Poco’s General Manager for India C Manmohan claims they took their time to perfect the product.

“Even though from the outside world 1.5 years seem a lot, it took us that much time because we are a small team and didn’t have the luxury of making it a large team. It took us time to create the next product. That’s where we are right now to take the next step as an independent entity,” is what he told us in an interaction. Well if one and a half years is what it has taken Poco to come up with the X2, then this better be one exceptional product.

The Mi 10 Pro specifications sound ridiculous

The Mi 10 could see a global unveiling at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 in Barcelona, which takes place on February 24. We know there will be a 5G variant of this phone, Xiaomi has already confirmed the Snapdragon 865 chipset on this device.

The latest set of leaks indicate that the Mi 10 Pro will have 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage. Should Samsung and the S20 be worried? We’ll have to wait and watch to see where all Xiaomi launches the Mi 10 and this beefy Pro variant. There’s also the 108MP camera that is being rumoured on the Mi 10 Pro, which would again match the S20, at least as specifications go.

But take this leak from Weibo with a pinch of salt. Because it also talks about a 6.4-inch display with a full HD+ resolution, compared to the bigger 6.57-inches display talked about by other leaks. It could also feature a huge 5250mAh battery, and 66W fast charging, which has been talked about previously as well. If Xiaomi does put in a 5250 mAh battery on this, it could be one of the few premium flagships to sport something like this.  The camera specifications are rumoured to be 108MP main camera, and three other cameras which will be 16MP, 12MP and 5MP.

Read our brand blogs: Vivo increasing its market share | Realme blogSamsung blog Apple blog

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