Xiaomi is trying to push to the top of the smartphone market with the 13 Pro. This will pit the Chinese company against rivals Apple and Samsung.
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Xiaomi launched its flagship smartphone globally on Sunday, as the Chinese electronics giant tries to take a slice of the high-end market and challenge Apple and Samsung.
The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro were originally launched in China in December, but now the China-headquartered company is bringing the devices to overseas markets.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro device sports a 6.73-inch display and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset from American company Qualcomm. It has other premium features like triple lens camera and ultra-fast charging. The company touted the capabilities of the “connected” camera in partnership with German company Leica.
The Xiaomi 13 starts at 999 euros ($1,053), while the 13 Pro starts at 1,299 euros.
Xiaomi had a tough year in 2022, with its smartphone shipments down 26% year-on-year, according to research firm IDC, the biggest drop among the top five major handset vendors. The company swung into losses in the September quarter, according to the latest financial results.
Xiaomi has faced many headwinds, especially the extremely difficult macroeconomic environment with the economy slowing down in China. A total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped in 2022, marking the lowest annual shipment since 2013, according to ITC.
“Xiaomi faces multiple headwinds within China from the ever-popular Apple iPhone, surprisingly strong prestige and fickle Chinese consumers who frequently switch between Android hardware brands,” TechInsights analyst Neil Mawston told CNBC in an email.
Honor is a Chinese smartphone brand from Huawei.
Xiaomi has become one of the largest smartphone makers over the years with a strategy of bringing high-spec devices at very competitive price points. Following a similar strategy, it began pushing into overseas markets seven years ago. But it is now looking to push into the higher end of the market, where margins are higher and the market is still growing.
High-end smartphones, priced above $800, will account for 18% of the total handset market in 2022, up from 11% in 2020, Canalys data shows. Xiaomi’s push into the premium tier will pit it against Apple and Samsung, challenging the Chinese rival. Samsung and Apple devices will account for 92% of the high-end market by 2022, according to Canalys.
“Competing with Apple and Samsung is incredibly difficult, not just matching market-leading products, but especially going up against giant companies with exceptional brand awareness, high-level sentiments, experiential solutions and highly user-sticky product ecosystems,” Runar Bjørhovde, research analyst at Canalys, told CNBC. via email.
Xiaomi is the latest Chinese smartphone player trying to break into the high end of the market. Oppo launched its first foldable phone in overseas markets this month, priced at more than $1,000.