Xiaomi unveils smartphone aimed at entry-level users

Priced at US$130, Chinese smartphone manufacturer's sub-brand, Hongmi, will be available for sale from August 12 and is targeted at China's low-end market segment.

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Hongmi has a 4.7-inch screen, Android-based device equipped with MediaTek's 1.5GHz quad-core processor, and its dual-card handset supports China Mobile's 2G and 3G networks.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has launched a sub-brand to target the country's entry-level smartphone users.

The Hongmi smartphone, priced at 799 yuan (US$130), was unveiled at a Beijing news briefing on Wednesday, China Daily reported. The Android device has a 4.7-inch screen, equipped with MediaTek's 1.5GHz quad-core processor, and its dual-SIM card handset supports China Mobile's 2G and 3G networks.

The Hongmi smartphone is available for pre-orders via Tencent's social networking platform, Qzone, which has more than 60 million users. Xiaomi is slated to begin delivering the first batch on August 12.

The launch of Hongmi is the company's first attempt to target China's affordable and entry-level smartphone market, which comprises devices priced below 1,000 yuan (US$163.23), Lei Jun, said founder and CEO of Xiaomi.

According to the China Daily report, unnamed Xiaomi officials said the "birth" of Hongmi was in preparation for the price-cutting trend, following reports Apple may slash its iPhone price to attract more Chinese users. "People will pay more attention to cheaper but capable smartphones," one official said.

Xiaomi said in June it was planning to double handset sales this year to 15 million , up from 7.19 million last year , to gain ground against Apple and Samsung. The Chinese smartphone maker also aims to sell over 10 million phones in 2013 by expanding to overseas markets, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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