Over the last five years, Chinese smartphone brands have more or less captured the Indian market. But one name in particular has emerged as the star player in this field: Xiaomi. With its bestselling handsets, the brand has brought in a very fundamental change in the way smartphones are designed and sold. It was only after Xiaomi that other big manufacturers, like Apple and Samsung, started thinking of the affordability factor in smartphone design. And Xiaomi is known for making affordable phones without compromising with performance.

At the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona last month, Xiaomi made headlines with its Mi Mix 3, the brand’s first 5G-enabled phone. Now, they have followed that up with some new additions to the hugely successful Redmi Note line-up. Unveiled on 28 February at an event in Delhi, the Redmi Note 7 and Note 7 Pro are both power-packed phones designed to push the performance envelope, in keeping with the Xiaomi philosophy.

The Note 7 Pro, advertised by the brand as the “camera beast”, is fitted with a 48MP+5MP, rear camera unit, laced with one of the best image sensors in the market, the SONY IMX586. It also has a 13MP selfie camera, as does the Note 7 variant. The Note 7, too, has dual rear cameras, of 12MP+2MP capacity.

Both the phones have a 6.3-inch display and are powered by a 4000mAh battery. While the Note 7 has an Octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor at its centre, the Pro version gets further upgrades on the hardware front, with an Octa-core 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 675. Both phones have fingerprint sensors on the back and Gorilla Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and rear for all-round protection.

Speaking to Guardian 20, Xiaomi India’s CMO, Anuj Sharma, said, “As a brand that started purely online, Xiaomi entered the smartphone market in 2014 at a time when the industry was occupied by several smartphone competitors who were heavily offline-based and spent massive funds on traditional advertising methods. Xiaomi then went on to become the number-one smartphone brand in Q3 2017 and has been dominating the industry for six quarters in a row.”

This domination was the result of great business acumen. In other words, Xiaomi was able to read the Indian market correctly and put into place an offline distribution model. “Nearly 70% of India’s consumer market is still offline-based,” Sharma continued. “Xiaomi has established a strong offline presence despite having started its offline operations in Q2 2017. It is important for the brand to be able to establish a strong connection with the offline consumer segment by ensuring it has significant brand visibility in offline channels too.”

According to Sharma, one of the key reasons for Xiaomi’s success in India was that the brand was able to cultivate a loyal consumer base here in a short span of time. “We attribute our massive success to our meaningful relationships with the Mi fans. They play a crucial role in Xiaomi’s growth, and also frequently share feedback towards our product development efforts. At Xiaomi, we also make efforts to constantly engage with our consumers through regular meetups and also through our social media networks,” he said.

Besides smartphones, the brand also launched with a new smart TV and a set of Bluetooth earphones at the Delhi event. This is in line with Xiaomi’s growing business interests and efforts to branch out to new segments of consumer technology.

Sharma said, “At Xiaomi, we ensure that we provide the most innovative products of the highest quality with the best specs at a truly honest pricing. We will continue working towards offering more products and services serving these key aspects… Also, we continue to bring in new, innovative product categories for our Mi Fans and consumers in India. Products which would boost smarter living. We are also looking at driving a leaner smartphone portfolio, and at the same time we will continue to expand our retail footprint across India to ensure that our innovative products are easily accessible to consumers across the nation.”

Redmi Note 7’s 3GB+32GB variant is priced at Rs 9,999 and its 4GB+64GB variant at Rs 11,999; Note 7 Pro, which releases on 13 March, is priced at 13,999 (4GB+64GB variant) and Rs 16,999 (6GB+128GB variant).

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