Xiaomi’s Flagship Game isn’t strong, but the new ‘Redmi’ could change that

by Joel 0


A couple of weeks back, the headline ‘Xiaomi outs the new Redmi Note 7 smartphone’ would have been technically correct. But now, it’s not. Redmi is a separate brand and so is Xiaomi’s Mi.

Welcome, 2019!

Redmi by Xiaomi


Redmi’s first smartphone this year, the Redmi Note 7 turned out to be great — not like the Redmi Note 6 Pro and the Redmi 6 which were lackluster. I mean, these two phones were not bad, they were not Xiaomi good either.


See what I did there? Xiaomi has become equivalent to value and affordability. But that’s not necessarily a good thing for the recently listed company.


The decision to split Redmi from the Xiaomi family was not just for the budget focused brand. Xiaomi’s flagship brand, ‘Mi’ should eventually benefit more from this decision. So, despite the spotlight being around Redmi going independent, I think we should see the real picture here, which is ‘Mi’ getting its own niche market.


Redmi’s the Real Hero!

Xiaomi has always been popular for its budget smartphones. Heck, if you are out to buy a budget phone, chances are, you have shortlisted a bunch of Redmi phones. Indeed it was Redmi phones that drove the company’s growth to a considerable extent all these years. So it wasn’t surprising to see analysts mentioning Redmi smartphone models that helped the Beijing-based company become the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world. But the same reports often failed to mention its flagship models.


A report from Kantar World Panel reveals that Xiaomi Mi 8 was the most popular smartphone in China in Q3 2018. So, it’s clear that the company is making efforts to fix this problem. Getting its flagship smartphones to sell well is most likely a priority for the company right now. After all, high-end smartphones command better margins, unlike budget phones. And it’s not just about margins. High-end users are likely to spend more on services, boosting overall revenue.


But with Redmi and Xiaomi walking the same road, it was always going to be difficult.


Finding Your Niche

Consider Honor and Huawei. Both of them have low-end phones as well as high-end phones. Honor’s new Honor View 20 with its punch hole camera shined at CES 2019 for its high-end features. Huawei’s low-end model, like the Huawei Enjoy 9 isn’t half bad for its price. But when you think of the two brands, how do you perceive them?


Huawei P20 Pro Aurora Featured 2
Huawei P20 Pro


It’s very likely that when you think of Huawei, you think of the premium Mate 20 series and the P20 series. In short, when you are out to buy a flagship phone in 2019, a few of Huawei’s models are automatically shortlisted. Similarly, for affordable flagships or for affordable mid-rangers, Honor’s likely in your potential list. This perception hasn’t risen just out of a phone-by-phone comparison, it is a result of both brands being very clear about where they stand.

OnePlus is a good example of a successful niche brand. Realme and POCO are some additional examples which show how focusing on a particular market segment is the way to go.


Weak Flagship Game

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Xiaomi knows its flagship game isn’t strong. Yes, the Mi Mix 3 is inspiring, but how many of you are seriously considering purchasing the device? In an important market like India, Xiaomi doesn’t even have a true flagship lineup. The best selling flagship model from the company is the POCO F1. But see how it’s not associated with the Xiaomi brand? Not to mention, the POCO F1 is an affordable flagship and not a premium one. 

Oh yes, if you really look around, you’ll find that the Mi Mix 2S is available in India. But it’s not doing so well. And they haven’t even launched its successor yet. 

The existing Xiaomi Mi 8 / Mi 8 Pro lineup have capable options. Heck, with the new updates, their cameras have become better as well. But they are overshadowed by the company’s brand perception.


But with Redmi and its budget offerings being sliced out of the Xiaomi brand, they have a chance. Mi series may finally advance as a solid premium brand!


Maybe, at the end of the year, I’ll be looking at a Xiaomi flagship (possibly the Mi 9 or the Mi Mix 4) as the best smartphone of the year.

With Xiaomi making its move to strengthen its premium segment, I am pretty confident that we would see a flagship that takes on the upcoming Mates and Galaxies in the market.

What say you?