Xiaomi has been teasing its arrival in the laptop segment and as usual, there's a belief that its first laptops for the Indian market will focus on the affordable segment, similar to its smartphone strategy. However, that may not be the case, as made clear by Xiaomi's Chief Business Officer, Raghu Reddy. The first batch of Mi series laptops will be targeted towards power users as well as gamers.
In an interview with The Economic Times, Reddy makes it clear that the Mi series laptops will focus on power users instead of appealing to the budget segment. The first batch of laptops will be directly imported from the foreign markets and hence, prices will be towards the higher end. These laptops will, then, directly compete with the premium ultrabooks from established players like Dell, HP, Asus and Lenovo.
The first few models will target a specific set of users, especially students, content creators and gamers. This hints at Xiaomi bringing the Mi NoteBook Air series of laptops as well as the gaming laptops, both of which have been on sale in China for sometime now. Reddy also confirmed that Xiaomi won't bombard the market with multiple models, hinting that there will only be a few models.
With the Mi Series laptops being priced on the higher end of the spectrum, Xiaomi may be creating space for its RedmiBook series of laptops that could make it to India later. The RedmiBook series of laptops usually cater to the affordable segment whereas the Mi Series laptops cater to the premium space. This is lineup is similar to the differentiation between the Mi and Redmi smartphones.
Reddy says that Xiaomi had originally planned to launch these laptops during the festive season of Diwali. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic inducing a new culture of work-from-home, there has been an increased demand for laptops and Xiaomi hopes to cash-in on the opportunity than wait for the festive season to begin late in the year.
"We were planning to launch it before the big festive season, before Diwali. But given the situation in industry and people working from home and students looking for devices for online classes, short-term demand might be higher than the past," said Reddy.
Reddy also says that the demand for laptops in the Thin & Light as well as Gaming category has been high. This indicates that Xiaomi's Mi series laptops will cater to these categories primarily instead of bringing affordable laptops, which will be left to the RedmiBook series.
With higher prices, will Xiaomi have a chance against the big names of the industry? Reddy says that 75 per cent of the laptop market in India is dominated by Dell, HP, Asus, Acer and Lenovo. However, there's a space for a new entrant in this segment and Xiaomi intends to make a name for itself. If the demand meets its projections, Xiaomi may even consider starting local productions, which could eventually bring down the prices for the consumers.
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