Xiaomi is trying to break into 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 looks to grab a slice of the high-end market and challenge Apple and Samsung.
The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro originally launched in China in December, but now the Beijing, China-headquartered company is bringing the devices to overseas markets.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro device has a 6.73-inch display and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset from the US company Qualcomm. It has a triple-lens camera and other premium features like ultra-fast charging. The company spoke about the capabilities of its camera, which it had developed jointly with German company Leica.
The Xiaomi 13 starts at €999 ($1,053), while the 13 Pro starts at €1,299.
Xiaomi had a tough 2022, with smartphone shipments falling 26% year over year, according to research firm IDC, the largest drop among the top five handset vendors. The company posted a loss for the September quarter, the latest financial results available.
Xiaomi faced a number of headwinds, most notably a tougher macro environment with a slowing economy in China. A total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, the lowest annual total since 2013, according to IDC.
“Xiaomi faces multiple headwinds in China, from a popular Apple iPhone, a surprisingly strong Honor, and fickle Chinese consumers who are often switching between Android hardware brands at lightning speed,” Neil Mawston, analyst at TechInsights, told via email CNBC.
Honor is the Chinese smartphone brand that was split off from Huawei.
Xiaomi has become one of the largest smartphone manufacturers over the years through a strategy of releasing high-quality devices at very competitive prices. It started entering overseas markets about seven years ago and followed a similar strategy. But it’s now trying to get into the higher end of the market, where margins are higher and the market is still growing.
High-end smartphones costing over $800 accounted for 18% of the total cellphone market in 2022, up from 11% in 2020, Canalys data shows. Xiaomi’s push 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.
“Competiting with Apple and Samsung is incredibly difficult. Not only to match with market-leading products, but most importantly to compete with giant companies with exceptional brand awareness, high-end perception, experiential solutions and product ecosystems with high user engagement,” Runar Bjørhovde, research analyst at Canalys, told CNBC via email.
Xiaomi is the latest Chinese smartphone player trying to crack the high-end of the market. Oppo launched its first foldable phone for the overseas market this month, which costs more than $1,000.