Xiaomi makes its first moves to sell its phones in Africa
Fresh from its launch in Brazil in the South American continent earlier in June, the world’s fifth largest smartphone maker Xiaomi is all set to cause a splash in a totally new continent — Africa.
This time, however, the company won’t be spearheading its own efforts into breaking into the three new markets of South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Instead, the Chinese smartphone maker will be partnering with the Mobile in Africa Group to sell two of its smartphones there, the Redmi 2 and the Mi 4 in the middle of November.
“We see Africa as the next frontier for smartphone growth and we are excited to be partnering with MIA Group to offer consumers in these three countries our high-quality smartphones at amazing prices,” said Xiaomi’s global strategy director, Raymond Tian, in a statement.
The Xiaomi partnership with MIA Group is the first instance where Xiaomi isn’t directly selling its phones to consumers. Instead, the MIA Group will handle the sales, marketing and support for the handsets. Xiaomi says it has been looking into different ways to make its smartphones available in newer markets.
Africa as a whole represents a new untapped market for the ambitious Chinese company. Valued at $45 billion, the company has gone from strength to strength, managing to overtake Apple in China in smartphone share earlier this year, though according to new reports, has since lost that position to Chinese rival Huawei.
By offering a budget-friendly Redmi 2 and a slightly higher-end device in the form of the Mi 4, Xiaomi is betting that these two models, with their aggressive price points, will be attractive for its potential customers.
The company needs its African venture to succeed, if it is to hit its 100 million smartphone sales target for 2015. It has so far only sold just shy of 35 million handsets in the first half of 2015. However, China’s upcoming Black Friday equivalent, Singles Day, happening on November 11, will likely help inch the smartphone maker closer towards its sales target.