Chinese gadget maker Xiaomi has opened its first store in the UK and announced a series of smart products as the company aims to take on Apple and Samsung in Europe.
The firm will be offering four smartphones, a wristband and an electric scooter at its new store at the Westfield London shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush on 18 November.
Xiaomi’s most notable announcement is that it will offer its new Mi 8 Pro smartphone in Britain, the first time the firm’s flagship device has been available outside China, says Metro.
The device boasts a 6.2in AMOLED display and a 12 megapixel dual-lens camera at the rear, the news site says. It’s also powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, which can be found in Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 9 and the OnePlus 6.
While these specs match those of phones costing around £900, the Mi 8 Pro carries a price tag of £499.
Joining the flagship smartphone is a budget Redmi 6A handset priced at £99, plus the Mi A2 at £259 and Mi 8 Lite at £279, says Tech Advisor.
However, the company is hosting a series of flash sales this evening and tomorrow, where the A2 and 8 Lite will be up for grabs for just £1, the tech site says. The next sale occurs on the company’s website at 8pm this evening.
Will it rival the tech giants?
Almost certainly. Although Xiaomi isn’t a familiar name with tech lovers in Britain, there’s a good chance it will have a substantial presence in the UK smartphone market in the near future.
Xiaomi itself is the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world, with only Apple, Samsung and fellow Chinese tech firm Huawei ahead of it.
Neil Mawston, from tech insight firm Strategy Analytics, told the BBC that Xiaomi has proven it can “almost always grow very fast” when it enters a new country.
“That’s happened in India, Indonesia and Russia and now we’re seeing it grow very quickly in Spain,” he said.
Mawston also believes tech giants such as Samsung, Huawei and LG are the “most at risk of losing sales” through Xiaomi’s arrival, but Apple is “probably safe because it plays in much higher price tiers”.