Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun introduces 6.4-inch phablet MIX with a 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio at a press conference held in Beijing on Tuesday. (Photo: Zhang Ye/GT)
Xiaomi Inc, which is known for its low-budget smartphones, is going after high-end consumers with the launch of its most expensive phone model yet.
During a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun pushed out a 6.4-inch "full-screen" smartphone called MIX, which has a 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Equipped with many cutting-edge technologies such as ultrasonic proximity sensors, which Lei said are "expensive," the MIX will cost from 3,499 yuan (7) to 3,999 yuan, the highest-priced product line of Xiaomi to date.
Typically, Xiaomi's handsets are priced around 2,000 yuan.
"I will consider buying a MIX, which indeed achieves many breakthroughs in terms of design and configuration," a 30-year-old Beijing resident surnamed Shang told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The hardware and design are much better than Apple's latest flagship iPhone 7 Plus, Shang noted.
The new line is Lei's latest effort to woo middle- and high-end users, as the company is facing increasingly tough competition in the low-end segment, said analysts.
In the second quarter of 2016, OPPO surpassed Xiaomi to become the world's No.4 smartphone vendor by shipments, according to a report from Gartner.
Among the world's top five smartphone vendors, OPPO achieved the highest growth in the quarter at 129 percent, the report said.
Apart from MIX, the founder of the "Apple Inc of China" also rolled out a smaller-size Mi Note 2 during the conference.
Sporting a 5.7-inch dual-edge curved display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, the Mi Note 2 was described by Lei as a phone that could outperform most other flagship smartphones.
Targeting middle- and high-end consumers, the Mi Note 2 series is also priced higher than most of Xiaomi's handsets, starting from 2,799 yuan to 3,499 yuan.
The Mi Note 2 series and MIX can help Xiaomi further its presence in the high-end smartphone sector, especially at a time when the dual-edge curved Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is out of the running for 2016 due to its battery scandal, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent industry expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"But the sales of the two new models is unlikely to greatly boost Xiaomi's whole smartphone business in China, as the mostly preferred phones in the world's largest smartphone market is those priced around 1,000 yuan," said Liu.