Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is set to introduce its smartphones into the South African market starting November 22nd signaling its official entry into the competitive African smartphone market.
Xiaomi was expected to start selling its devices in Africa from September through distributor Mobile in Africa but the delay may have been occasioned by unforeseen happenings like Mi-Fone’s trademark infringement claims which threatened to either slow down Xiaomi’s entry into the continent or scuttle such plans altogether. While there are no details available to us on what eventually transpired between the two companies, it looks like Xiaomi is going ahead with its rollout.
Xiaomi will start selling its Redmi 2 and Mi 4 smartphones between November 22 and 28 at R2,000 (about Ksh 14,300) and R4,000 (about Ksh 28,600) respectively with carrier MTN as the launch partner. This places Xiaomi on a direct collision course with Samsung, Microsoft, Huawei and ZTE which are the current market leaders in the South African market thanks largely to budget smartphones.
Xiaomi which shipped over 18.5 million smartphones in Q3 2015 earning it 5% share of the global smartphone market according to data from Counterpoint Research and is keen on tapping into the demand for low-cost smartphones on the continent and is set to start selling its devices in several other countries starting in 2016 as well.
According to Q1 2015 data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), South Africa accounted for 12% of all smartphones shipped to the African continent in that period coming only second to Nigeria which accounted for 14% thus underlying its importance.