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Pocophone fans have been eagerly waiting for the Poco F2, the release of which is still under wraps. (Picture: Ben Sin/SCMP)

Xiaomi is spinning off low-cost Pocophone brand

Xiaomi is one of India’s favorite brands and the Poco F1 was a big hit in the country

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Smartphone maker Xiaomi says it will spin off Pocophone, a line of handsets popular in India. Launched in 2018, it was seen as Xiaomi’s answer to cheaper handsets from OnePlus and Samsung in Southeast Asia and India, where it’s known as Poco.

The first and so far only phone under the brand, the Poco F1, launched just two weeks after Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, claiming to match its specs at a much lower price. While the Note 9 sold for more than US$1,000, the Poco F1 started at just over US$300.

“Poco F1 was an incredibly popular phone,” Xiaomi Global Vice President Kumar Jain announced on Friday. “We feel the time is right to let Poco operate on its own.”
Spin-offs seem to be the name of the game for Chinese smartphone makers trying to capture India’s huge market. Oppo’s spin-off brand Realme has seen huge success in the country and is considering turning it into an independent brand. IDC numbers showed that during the third quarter of 2019, Xiaomi was India’s top brand, with Samsung following in second. The rest of the top five brands all came from China, including Vivo, Realme and Oppo.
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