Xiaomi’s Answer to Apple’s iPad: The MiPad

Source: Mi.com

Xiaomi, the low-cost Chinese smartphone maker that has quickly gained market share in the world’s largest smartphone market, unveiled its first tablet on ThursdayReuters reports. Like its budget Android-powered smartphones, Xiaomi’s MiPad is cheaper than devices with similar technical specifications made by rivals such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK).

According to Xiaomi’s website, the 16GB MiPad will sell for 1,499 yuan, or about $240. The MiPad features a 7.9-inch, 2048 by 1536 resolution screen, and a 2.2 GHz Tegra K1 processor made by Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). The MiPad’s technical specifications are on par with Apple’s 16GB iPad mini with Retina display, which starts at about 2,888 yuan, or $463, in China, according to PCWorld.

Although Xiaomi’s MiPad undercuts several other competitors’ tablet prices, CEO Lei Jun made it clear that the company was targeting Apple’s market share, at least in the Chinese tablet market. “We hope Apple will feel some pressure,” said Lei at the MiPad’s unveiling event, per PCWorld. “I believe the Xiaomi tablet will become the best Android tablet.”

Although Xiaomi declined to provide a launch date for the MiPad, Lei said that a test version of the device would be made available to the public by mid-June, according to Reuters. However, it was unclear if the MiPad would be available outside of China. It should be noted that Xiaomi sells 97 percent of its smartphones within mainland China, according to data from market research firm Canalys.

“The entire mobile industry is turning its neck around and saying ‘Who is this guy disrupting everything?’” said IDC analyst Bryan Ma, via PCWorld. “If they take the same formula and bring it to tablets, they stand to be good competition.”

Although its low-cost devices only give Xiaomi a razor-thin profit margin, the company’s strategy has allowed it to become the third-largest smartphone vendor in China and the sixth-largest vendor in the overall worldwide market, according to the latest data from Canalys.

While Apple remains the No. 2 smartphone vendor in the world behind Samsung, the iPhone maker lags Xiaomi in the Chinese smartphone market, with a fourth-place ranking. On the other hand, Apple currently dominates China’s tablet market with a 43 percent share in the first quarter of this year, according to IDC data cited by PCWorld.

While Xiaomi’s price-driven approach to the market has allowed it make significant gains in China’s smartphone market, it is unclear if that success will work on a global scale. However, the company has already announced plans to expand beyond the Chinese market. According to TechinAsia, Xiaomi announced that the company would enter at least 10 new countries this year: Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil.

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