Xiaomi takes dip into PC mar­ket

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By MASI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Xiaomi Corp un­veiled its first lap­top on Wed­nes­day, in an ef­fort to test the wa­ters in the per­sonal com­puter busi­ness as the Chi­nese smart­phone ven­dor strug­gles with de­clin­ing hand­set sales.

The Bei­jing-based com­pany is stick­ing to the af­ford­abil­ity strat­egy, which once helped it sell mil­lions of smart­phones.

But it re­mains to be seen how this will work in the PC sec­tor, which has been dom­i­nated by play­ers such as Len­ovo Group Ltd and Ap­ple Inc, ex­perts said.

Mi Note­book Air, which re­tails from 3,499 yuan ($520), fea­tures a slim de­sign and a body that the com­pany claims is “thin­ner than a coin”.

Equipped with an in­de­pen­dent graphic card, the com­puter is de­signed to of­fer a bet­ter game-play­ing and video-watch­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, said: “We are fo­cus­ing on mak­ing good-qual­ity de­vices that are af­ford­able for av­er­age buy­ers.”

Al­though Xiaomi is a new­comer in the PC sec­tor, the PC de­sign­ers and de­vel­op­ers it hires all have been work­ing in the in­dus­try for more than 10 years, Lei said.

Xiaomi is part of a group of lo­cal firms that are ex­pand­ing into the PC sec­tor, as China’s hand­set mar­ket reaches sat­u­ra­tion. Its arch ri­val Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd also launched its first PC prod­uct ear­lier this year.

Zhao Xiaolei, re­search man­ager at the China branch of re­search firm In­ter­na­tional Data Corp, said the main attraction of Xiaomi’s PCs re­mains its af­ford­abil­ity.

“Tech­no­log­i­cally speak­ing, there is not much in­no­va­tion in Xiaomi’s newly re­leased PCs. But an af­ford­able price cou­pled with good per­for­mance can help it ap­peal to col­lege stu­dents and young peo­ple,” Zhao said.

To keep costs un­der con­trol, Xiaomi chose a tra­di­tional type of lap­top with lower man­u­fac­tur­ing costs, while Huawei opted for the new lap­topt­ablet hy­brid model, which is more ex­pen­sive but re­mains pop­u­lar de­spite the over­all de­cline of the PC sec­tor.

In the sec­ond quar­ter of 2016, the global per­sonal com­puter mar­ket saw a year-onyear de­cline of 4.5 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to IDC.

“But the PC mar­ket won’t de­cline for­ever. It is a ma­ture mar­ket and there is al­ways de­mand for qual­ity PCs,” Zhao said.

Xiaomi also re­leased a new mid­dle-end smart­phone called Redmi Pro on Wed­nes­day. It comes with dual rear cam­eras and an OLED dis­play, which can de­liver bet­ter imag­ing ef­fects.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi Corp, tries Redmi Pro, a new Xiaomi hand­set re­leased on Wed­nes­day in Bei­jing, while ac­tress Liu Shishi looks on.

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