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Xiaomi releases Mi 6, speeds up offline expansion

By Song Jingli | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-04-19 17:40

Xiaomi releases Mi 6, speeds up offline expansion

Lei Jun shows Mi 6 in Beijing, April 19, 2017. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A seven-year-old Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi unveiled its six-generation flagship device, Mi 6 in Beijing on Wednesday and announced that it would open 1,000 offline retail stores in first and second tier cities, in a bid to make all products more accessible.

Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi, said the Mi 6 was the first Chinese-made handset to be equipped with a Snapdragon 835 processor, along with the help of Qualcomm.

He added the Mi 6 features include a 6G RAM, dual camera, curved glasses on all four edges and a stainless bezel.

He said the Mi 6 was also water-proof and can protect eyes with its special screen. The Mi 6 also has the 4-pixel optical anti-vibration function, which exists on Mi 5 but does not show up on Mi 5s due to cost considerations.

The updated release was in response to the consumers' wants and needs, Lei said.

"The Mi 6 is a product with extreme attention to detail, showcasing Xiaomi's endless exploration," he said.

Lei went on to give special credit to the engineers involved and said without innovation, Xiaomi, a company that started with a staff of about a dozen, would not have survived.

"In the past seven years, hundreds of smartphone manufacturers have lost and disappeared," he said.

In addition to technological breakthroughs, the company have found the business model transformation a complete success.

Lei said the company, which gained strong presence in the country's smartphone sector via its web-only sales model, succeeded in cost control, enabling the same product at a bricks-and-mortar store, Mi Home,to be sold at the same price as their online peers.

He expected the company to gain 70 billion yuan ($10.2 billion) from its Mi Homes over the next five years.

Mi 6 devices with 64G ROM and 128G ROM will be sold starting April 28 in all Xiaomi sales channels at 2,499 yuan and 2,899 yuan respectively. A ceramic version will be sold at 2,999 yuan.

Jin Di, a research manager with IDC China, said the Mi 6, however, was not on par with industry-wide expectations, especially on the backdrop of the Mi Mix – a trend-setter on all-screen devices.

She added this was not only a difficult time for Xiaomi but for other Chinese vendors as breakthroughs were increasingly hard to make.

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