On the third day of 2019, Xiaomi made its first move and it was shocking. Today, the company announced it is going to make Redmi an independent brand and promote it separately.
This morning, Xiaomi issued a statement saying the first big event in the New Year is going to be the announcement of a new brand at the Redmi conference. It will happen on January 10.
The English logo of ‘Redmi’ in the preheating poster is particularly conspicuous. In Lei Jun’s view, the new independent Redmi brand is more international and will give you a completely different feeling. Previously, Redmi has been understood as Xiaomi’s entry-level brand. Over the years, it has produced a number of ‘national-level’ smartphones and has become a major contributor to Xiaomi’s smartphone sales. So the implication is that Redmi is no longer just a ‘national smartphone’ but also going to the world.
At the same time, the number ‘4800’ appeared in the poster. It is reported that at the press conference on January 10, a new smartphone with a 48MP camera previously exposed by Lin Bin will be officially launched. According to some leaks, the new Redmi handset will not only sport a 48MP main camera but also be packed with the world’s first Snapdragon 675 chip. Thus, it is going to provide better performance than the recently-launched Xiaomi Mi Play, which is packed with an Helio P35.
The Snapdragon 675 is a mid-range chip launched by Qualcomm in the second half of this year. It uses the new Kryo 460 architecture and an octa-core design. The CPU clocked at 2.0GHz and the GPU is Adreno 612. It also carries Qualcomm’s third-generation multi-core artificial intelligence engine, namely AI Engine. In the AI application, the overall performance improvement is up to 50%, compared to the previous generation Snapdragon 670.
Moreover, Lei Jun also revealed some details when answering questions from users, indicating that the phone will still retain the 3.5mm headphone jack. As for the price, he said they are going to insist on making good products that are attractive and fair in price. So there is every reason to guess the upcoming Redmi-line smartphone will continue to be a cost-effective device like its predecessors.
On December 5 last year, Lin Bin first exposed their first 48MP lens phone on Weibo, and said: ‘Trying for a few weeks, good! To be released in January.’ At that time, there were many Mi users guessing it will be Redmi-line handset.
Not long ago, a new model of the model M1901F9T was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The TENAA documents showed that the machine uses a rear-mounted vertically-arranged dual-camera as well as a back fingerprint recognition. From the details, the camera and flash layout are basically the same as those of Lin Bin’s new photos, and it is likely to be the same.
The network access information also showed that the new machine uses a 5.84-inch display with a body size of 147.76×71.89×7.8mm and a battery capacity of 2900mAh. It runs on the MIUI 10 system based on Android deep customization.
According to Lei Jun, the Mi and Redmi brands are already separated, and each develops in different directions. So the Mi brand can perform better now. At the same time, he emphasized Redmi focuses on cost-effectiveness and the e-commerce market, while Xiaomi focuses on mid- to high-end and new retail.
For a long time, Redmi has been unveiled as the introduction brand of Xiaomi. The most expensive product in history has never exceeded 2,000 yuan ($290). In terms of product positioning, it has formed a clear segmentation with the Xiaomi phone series, and there is also a clear watershed in design, configuration, and camera.
However, in the past year, the positioning boundaries of phones for Xiaomi and Redmi began to cross, and the price distinction began to blur. The Xiaomi Mi Play has already dropped to 1099 yuan ($160), which coincides with the starting price of Redmi Note 5. The ‘fighting’ of its own products can be regarded as a positive signal for the splitting of the Mi and Redmi.
Previously, the Xiaomi brand mainly targeted the price range of 2,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan, coming with a few certain keywords, such as ‘innovation’, ‘technology and art’, etc., while the main battlefield of Redmi is in the thousand yuan machine market. Thus, they were promoted with the keywords of ‘high quality’, ‘the most cost-effective’ and ‘national smartphone’. In Xiaomi’s view, the two brands have already had strong independence, and the conditions for independent operation have matured.
However, this is not anything new. The case of Xiaomi and Redmi is identical to Huawei and Honor. Thus, there is every reason to think Xiaomi also encourages the two internal brands to compete with each other. It is not difficult to foresee that in the future Redmi will no longer be confined to the thousand yuan machine niche. It will come in with more mid-range and even the flagship products, and even form a direct competitive relationship with some Xiaomi products. The success of Huawei and Honor has proven that internal resource sharing and healthy competition are more conducive to the healthy growth of two brands.
It is worth mentioning that just before Xiaomi announced the independence of the Redmi brand, Lei Jun announced via his Weibo channel the former president of Gionee, Lu Weibing officially joined Xiaomi. It is reported that Lu Weibing may be responsible for the business related to Redmi. If so, and as Lu Weibing was previously responsible for the overseas market at Gionee, Redmi should increase its investment in the international market. At present, the Redmi brand has a very large share in the Indian market, and if they want to expand their overseas market share, they should invest more.
However, according to Chinese media verifications, Xiaomi insiders revealed that these two things are independent and have no connection. Another person close to the top of Xiaomi revealed that Lu Weibing was in the smartphone department of Lin Bin, responsible for Xiaomi POCO, Meitu Mobile and Shenzhen Research Institute.