Before tackling the US, Xiaomi embarks on African journey to boost phone sales
India, Brazil, and now South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Xiaomi’s global expansion is clearly in full swing, yet cash-strapped mobile consumers stateside still cannot officially purchase budget heavyweights like the Redmi 2 or Mi 4c.
US commercial rollouts for costlier, higher-end Mi Note or Mi Note Pro models are obviously out of the question, but a mid-range Redmi 2 Pro could mark the Chinese OEM’s debut in the uber-competitive and hyper-challenging Western market.
Before that can happen though, Xiaomi is looking to recover what it’s recently lost domestically in other emerging countries where smartphone penetration reminds of China just a few years back. Feature (read dumb) handhelds managed to once again eclipse demand for their more intelligent relatives in Africa in Q1 2015, but the MEA region, also incorporating the Middle East, should account for a sizable 155 million smartphone unit sales between January and December.
Needless to point out yearly figures will considerably surge if the projection materializes, and Sub-Saharan Africa has apparently “been the fastest-growing region over the last five years, in terms of both unique subscribers and connections.”
A piece of the increasingly enticing mobile pie around those parts must be the target of all device manufacturers seeking survival if not growth, so the South African, Nigerian, and Kenyan mid-November launches of the Redmi 2 and Mi 4 are no big surprises.
The former, with its pocketable 4.7-inch form factor, 720p screen resolution, quad-core Snapdragon 410 SoC, and 8MP camera should cost $160, all taxes included, in South Africa. As for the latter, a larger, higher-res 5-inch Full HD display, beefier Snapdragon 801 processor, and more proficient 13MP shooter, alongside 3GB RAM and an 8 megapixel selfie cam, mean the $320 local MSRP is mostly justified.