Chinese mobile company Xiaomi has already courted considerable success on the mainland with its budget smartphones, but the three-year-old company is also planning to make inroads in the Taiwan market with the launch of its Hongmi phone.
The Xiaomi Hongmi, cheapest of the company’s new phone line, will be sold in Taiwan starting on December 9 for NT$3,999 (HK$1,047), similar to its mainland price point of 799 yuan (HK$1,016).
Despite lacking the computing power of other smartphones, the Hongmi’s cheap price point has already drawn attention from money-conscious Taiwanese buyers, and the company has generated further enthusiasm by unveiling a Facebook promotional campaign to send out 10,000 early-bird reservation numbers to shoppers who wish to purchase the device on day one of its release.
“The price is just too good,” one Facebook user wrote. “Barely NT$4,000? It’s almost an exaggeration.”
Others on Xiaomi’s Facebook page, which has attracted over 50,000 likes, echoed these remarks, praising the company’s phones for “having value completely off the charts.”
The low price of Xiaomi’s phones has already boosted sales in the mainland market, where the success of the Hongmi and Xiaomi’s other recent reveal – the 1,999 yuan (HK$2,543) Mi-3 – helped the company become the second-largest Android phone seller in the third quarter of 2013, losing only to Korean company Samsung.
Whether or not Xiaomi will be able to replicate that success in the Taiwanese market, which still largely prefers Samsung and Apple products, is a matter of time.
The company has already encountered some success since it began selling its phones in Taiwan six months ago through a pairing with the island’s third largest mobile carrier, Far EasTone Telecommunications. Advertised as fast and cheap, Xiaomi phones have sold in Taipei retail outlets at a pace a Far EasTone spokesperson previously described to the Post as “feverish”.
The adoption of Xiaomi phones in Taiwan is yet another blow to the island’s former homegrown favourite, HTC. Once favoured by many Taiwan and international consumers three years ago, plummeting sales caused HTC to fall off of a list of the world’s top ten smartphone makers in the first quarter of 2013, according to data provided by technology analysis firm Gartner Inc.
Xiaomi has already outperformed HTC to take the fifth spot in the overall China smartphone market, right behind Samsung, Apple, Nokia and Huawei, analyst research by Want China Times reported.