Budget smartphone maker Xiaomi targets threefold sales increase in the Middle East

Xiaomi's lower priced smartphones have drawn comparisons to Apple and Samsung

Xiaomi launched its new smartphone Mi A2 Lite in Dubai on Wednesday. Courtesy Xiaomi
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Xiaomi, the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer, is shooting for a threefold sales increase in the Middle East this current financial year as the company rolled out new products in the UAE.

"Globally, Xiaomi had crossed $15 billion in revenues in 2017," Ronnie Wang, MEA channel sales director, told The National on Wednesday. "The Middle East region is one of our strongest markets as we registered a nearly 300 per cent growth in sales during the last fiscal year."

Mr Wang would not disclose the exact number of phones shipped to the Middle East.

Xiaomi, which went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July 2018 at a $54 billion valuation, has cemented a strong position in the smartphone industry by making low-priced devices that draw comparisons to Apple and Samsung phones.

The Beijing-based company's share in the global smartphone market was 9.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, according to the International Data Corporation. Korean company Samsung was the leader with 21 per cent market share, followed by Huawei and Apple with 15.9 and 12.1 per cent market share, respectively.


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“We are keenly focused on the Middle East region to capitalise on emerging innovative trends and consumers’ demands,” said Mr Wang, who said the four largest markets - UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey - were the main focus.

Xiaomi launched three new smartphones - Pocophone F1, Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite - in Dubai on Wednesday. Pocophone F1 starts from Dh1,249 and its A2 series phones start from Dh619.

The electronics manufacturer shipped nearly 87 million smartphones globally in 2017, but its market dominance in this region is in wearables. Xiaomi is the market leader in the Middle East Africa region with 16.5 per cent market share, practically tied with Samsung (16.4 per cent) and trailed by Apple (10.2 per cent).

Its Mi Band 3, which launched in the UAE on Wednesday, is a smartwatch with a touchscreen display and water resistance to 50 metres (matching the Apple Watch).

Currently, Xiaomi has three stores in Dubai and its products are available in nearly 800 shops in the UAE. The company is looking to expand its presence.

"There are plans to open more stores and we are actively studying which products should be introduced and at what time. We are looking at places like Dubai Mall and in other emirates including Abu Dhabi and Ajman," Ravi Matthew, deputy chief executive and general manager of Task, an official distributor of Xiaomi in the UAE, told The National.

Xiaomi-backed Viomi Technology, a Chinese seller of internet-connected home appliances, debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Tuesday. Shares of Viomi started trading at 9.50 dollars per share, up 5.5 per cent from its IPO price.