Xiaomi, PChome team up on handset sales

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jun 17, 2014 - Page 13

Xiaomi Corp (小米), a fast-growing Chinese maker of cheap smartphones, took its first step in building an overseas network of e-commerce partners yesterday when it teamed up with Taiwan-based Web portal PChome Online Inc (網路家庭).

PChome will begin selling an initial allocation of 10,000 units of the enhanced version of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note (also known as Hongmi Note) budget handset later this month.

Consumers planning to buy the phone can register their interest on PChome through their PChome accounts from Friday to Thursday next week.

Sales of the phone are to begin on Friday next week.

Xiaomi president Bin Lin (林斌) said his company intends to seek similar partnerships in other countries to accelerate its expansion into key overseas markets, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

“Our cooperation with PChome will be a new attempt to create a better user experience by two major e-commerce platforms,” Lin told a press conference in Taipei, referring to his own company’s Internet platform and that of PChome.

“PChome has many e-commerce innovations and is worth learning from,” he added.

PChome Online chairman Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志) said selling the enhanced version of the Redmi Note would give PChome a chance to learn how to deal with a high volume of online transactions within a short period of time, including how to manage cash flow.

The enhanced version of the Redmi Note is equipped with a 5.5-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, a MediaTek MT6592 1.7GHz octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera and a 3100mAh removable battery.

The 3G device will be priced at NT$4,999, lower than most other octa-core smartphones in the nation, including the InFocus M320 assembled by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), a main supplier of Apple Inc.

Xiaomi also announced that it was reducing the price of its Mi3 smartphone from NT$9,999 to NT$7,199 for a contract-free 16GB model, which will be available on Xiaomi Taiwan’s Web site from today.

Meanwhile, the Chinese company said that it is preparing to release its first 4G-enabled handsets to cash in on the newly launched long-term evolution (LTE) networks in China and Taiwan.

"Our research and development on 4G phones is in full swing," Lin said. "We are hoping to launch 4G phones as soon as possible and will bring them to Taiwanese consumers to improve their Web browsing and user experience."

He declined to give a timetable for the launch.