Xiaomi enmeshed in sham campaign allegations

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been reproached for falsely advertising certain parts of its recently released handset, the Redmi Note 2.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Chinese rising star Xiaomi is facing fierce criticism as consumers who received its Redmi Note 2 have found that some parts of the handset fail to match the models as stated in advertisements.

Consumers who received the handsets discovered that two key features, as promoted in campaigns -- the Sharp/AUO screen and Samsung's 13MP camera -- are only equipped with some lesser-known Chinese brands, according to a Sina news report on Wednesday.

Some consumers also posted images of the Redmi Note 2's campaign online, on JD.com and other major Chinese e-commerce platforms, to uphold their assertions of Xiaomi's false statement.

Consumers who paid 29 yuan ($4.60) for insurance offered by Xiaomi -- claiming to cover broken screens and liquid-caused malfunction -- have also found that their handsets are only eligible for maintenance, not a full replacement as was originally promised in Xiaomi's campaign.

In a subsequent statement, Xiaomi denied having ever claimed that the Redmi Note 2 would be equipped with the Sharp/AUO screen, attributing misleading reports to third-party e-commerce platforms that sold the handsets in China.

Xiaomi said it would not rule out the possibility that some competing brands or individuals may have also deliberately fabricated and spread false information.

As "a smartphone camera includes several components such as a sensor and lens", Xiaomi said the Redmi Note 2 is equipped with Samsung's 13MP ISOCELL sensor -- a key part in a camera.

The Chinese company further stated that it reserves the right to identify whether the phones have been damaged deliberately -- due to the existing insurance fraud phenomenon -- and as a result would not qualify for a full replacement.

Launched in early August, the Redmi Note 2 received a fanatic response in the market as the upper-mid-range handset -- which includes a Helio X10 (MTK6975) chipset from MediaTek, a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display, a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera, 2GB of RAM, and a 3060 mAh battery -- with a low price tag starting from only 799 yuan ($126).

Xiaomi later announced that pre-orders of the Redmi Note 2 broke a new record in the country, with sales over 800,000 handsets in 12 hours.

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