Is China’s Xiaomi a Threat to Apple?

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Source: mi.comCould Xiaomi, a low-cost Chinese smartphone maker, become Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next big rival? Unless it closely follows trends in the Chinese smartphone market, most Americans have probably never heard of Xiaomi. However, in China’s burgeoning smartphone market, Xiaomi is one of the hottest brands around. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White noted the buzz around Xiaomi’s products when he toured China earlier this month. “The tone around Xiaomi was even more positive than in past trips,” observed White in a research note obtained by Business Insider. “We believe the momentum at the China-based brands is increasingly impacting Samsung (SSNLF.PK), while Apple has already been struggling over the past 12-18 months,” he added.

Xiaomi’s ability to offer low-priced smartphones with high technical specifications allowed the China-based company to push Apple out of the top five smartphone makers in the fourth-quarter of 2013, according to Canalys market data cited by Computerworld. Xiaomi’s flagship device, the Mi3, starts at 1,999 yuan, less than half the price of Apple’s iPhone 5C that starts at 4,488 yuan, according to Forbes. The Mi3 also beats the more expensive iPhone 5C on specs, with a 5-inch 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution display and a 13-megapixel camera. On the other hand, Apple’s iPhone 5C has a 4-inch 1136 by 640 pixel resolution display with an 8-megapixel camera.

Now it appears that Xiaomi is ready to take on Apple in even more emerging markets. Last week, Xiaomi announced that the company would enter at least ten new countries this year, including Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil, reports TechinAsia.

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