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Xiaomi is going premium in order to compete with Apple

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Aloysius Low/CNET
Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer, has already proven that it is much more than a mobile phone maker with its impressive line of home appliances and even bikes. Now, however, the firm is looking to go upmarket. And it just may start with a $600 phone, a pronounced departure from its mid-range bread-and-butter smartphone lineup.

On Tuesday, Xiaomi’s international vice president, Hugo Barra, noted that the company is increasingly searching for ways to go premium. “When you look at … the prices of our products, they have been going up,” he said, speaking at Xiaomi’s Mi Home experience center in Hong Kong. “Our customers are demanding premium products from us, so we are delivering higher quality [smartphones] with more premium components.”

Rather than participating in a race to the bottom for the enormous (yet increasingly saturated) smartphone market in China, Xiaomi is looking toward a different strategy.

Earlier this week, Xiaomi’s co-founder Liwan Jiang confirmed plans to launch a $600 smartphone later in 2016, but revealed little else by way of the phone’s specs. But for the past several years, consumers have known the company’s phones to boast similar functionality to those from other, more expensive brands, but at a more attractive price point. This, however, may no longer be the case.

All the same, a rise in prices should be accompanied by a rise in quality, and as Xiaomi continues to show off its vast repertoire of products, a bigger, better, more expensive smartphone may just be another way to expand its market. So if you’re getting tired of your iOS device but don’t mind spending a pretty penny on your phone, you may consider holding out for Xiaomi and its upcoming premium lineup.

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