Xiaomi is trying to enter the high end of the smartphone market with the Xiaomi 13 Pro. It will pit the Chinese giant against rivals Apple and Samsung.
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Xiaomi launched its flagship smartphone globally on Sunday as the Chinese electronics giant tries to grab a slice of the high-end market and challenge Apple and Samsung.
The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro were originally launched in China in December, but now the Beijing, China-headquartered company is taking the devices to overseas markets.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro device has a 6.73-inch screen and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset from the American company Qualcomm. It has a triple-lens camera and other premium features like ultra-fast charging. The company talked about the features of its camera as “co-engineered” with Germany’s Leica.
The Xiaomi 13 starts at 999 euros ($1,053) while the 13 Pro starts at 1,299 euros.
Xiaomi had a tough year in 2022 with its smartphone shipments down 26% year-on-year, according to research firm IDC, the biggest decline among the top five phone vendors. The company made a loss in the September quarter, the latest available financial results.
Xiaomi has faced a number of headwinds, particularly a more difficult macroeconomic environment with a slowing economy in China. A total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, representing lowest annual delivery total since 2013, according to IDC.
“Xiaomi faces several headwinds in China from an ever-popular Apple iPhone, a surprisingly strong Honor, and fickle Chinese consumers who often switch between Android hardware brands on the fly,” TechInsights analyst Neil Mawston told CNBC via email.
Honor is the Chinese smartphone brand that was spun off from Huawei.
Xiaomi has turned into one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers over the years through a strategy of bringing out high-spec devices at very competitive prices. It began pushing into overseas markets about seven years ago, following a similar strategy. But it is now looking to push into the higher end of the market, where margins are higher and the market is still growing.
High-end smartphones, those costing over $800, accounted for 18% of the total mobile phone market in 2022, up from 11% in 2020, Canalys data shows. Xiaomi’s venture into the premium tier will pit it against Apple and Samsung, which will be a challenge for the Chinese rival. Samsung and Apple devices accounted for 92% of the high-end market in 2022, according to Canalys.
“Competing with Apple and Samsung is incredibly difficult. Not only to match market-leading products, but especially to face huge companies with exceptional brand awareness, advanced perceptions, experience-focused solutions and high user-friendliness product ecosystems,” Runar Bjørhovde, research analyst at Canalys, told CNBC via e-mail.
Xiaomi is the latest Chinese smartphone player trying to crack the high-end market. Oppo launched its first foldable phone for the overseas market this month costing more than $1,000.