XIAOMI, China’s No. 1 smartphone vendor, yesterday unveiled a high-end smartphone that came with the biggest screen in the company’s history as it takes aim at overseas rivals like Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.
The new 5.7-inch Mi Note, a rival to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, will debut in China two weeks later with prices at 2,299 yuan (US$372) for 16-gigabyte storage and 2,799 yuan for 64GB storage.
“The device is bigger, lighter and thinner than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and has special designs like Hi-Fi music and curved glass display,” CEO Lei Jun said at a press conference in Beijing yesterday.
Xiaomi also plans to debut an upgraded version called Xiaomi Note Pro in March that will be equipped with next-generation chip and more memory space for 3,299 yuan, the highest price for Xiaomi phones since the startup was founded in 2010.
The new models mark Lei’s ambition to catch up with leaders Samsung and Apple in the high-end market after Xiaomi became the world’s third-biggest smartphone vendor at the end of September.
Besides the bigger screen and Hi-Fi in its new phones, Xiaomi also plans to connect smart devices like washing machines and air conditioners after it said in November that it would invest 1.26 billion yuan in Midea Group, one of China’s biggest home appliance makers.
In 2014, Xiaomi’s revenue surged 135 percent to 74.3 billion yuan. It sold 61.1 million units last year, a 227 percent jump year on year, beating its annual target of 60 million units.
After it raised US$1.1 billion in December, privately owned Xiaomi is said to be valued at about US$45 billion, 200 times higher from its first round of financing in 2010.
In 2015, Xiaomi expects to sell 100 million phones.