Xiaomi, the third largest smartphones brand in the world, goes on sale in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya this month.
The Chinese handsets will be sold through a distribution partnership with Mobile In Africa Group, starting with the Redmi 2 and Mi 4. Both will available from the middle of November, it was announced today, November 2.
“We see Africa as the next frontier for smartphone growth and we are excited to be partnering with MIA Group to offer consumers in these three countries our high-quality smartphones at amazing prices,” says Raymond Tian, Xiaomi’s Global Strategy Director.
Xiaomi, which outsold Apple AAPL +1.65%’s iPhone in China, has “appointed MIA Group as a full-service distributor for these markets, which will provide importation, logistics, marketing and support services”. MIA, which operates in 14 African countries, will sell handsets online similar to the sales method Xiaomi uses in China.
MIA Group president RJ van Spaandonk says they are “delighted to bring the Redmi 2 and Mi 4 to key countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. We’ve seen a strong response to the products based on preliminary discussions with partners, and we look forward to providing consumers with these new high-end smartphone options at incredible price points”.
Xiaomi’s Red Mi 2 (costing $160) and M4 ($320) are now on sale in Africa.
The two Xiaomi handsets being launched are the Red Mi 2 (costing $160, including import duties in South Africa) and the Mi 4 ($320). “The Xiaomi Redmi 2 looks like a Lumia and feels like it’s comparable in quality. In performance, it fares slightly better than most of Microsoft MSFT +1.89% entry-level phones,” wrote Brett Venter, Stuff’s online editor.
“The Xiaomi Mi 4 is similar, except that it looks and feels like an iPhone 5 – with the hardware grunt and software versatility of Android behind it. The Mi 4, when it first launched internationally, was very nearly the perfect phone.”\
frica is expecting a surge of smartphone sales, according to the GSM Association. “Sub-Saharan Africa has been the fastest-growing region over the last five years, in terms of both unique subscribers and connections,” according to the London-based governing body’s The Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa 2014 report.
Smartphones accounted for 47% of mobile phones bought in Africa in the first quarter, after a 66% year-on-year Q1 increase (selling over 36 million handsets), IDC reports in its Q1 2015 Mobile Phone Tracker. Total smartphone sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are expected to be 155 million this year, IDC says.
“This comes at the expense of feature phones, which suffered year-on-year declines of around 20%,” IDC reported.
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