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The current state and future of Japanese expansion by listening to Xiaomi. On June 2nd, we will announce two SIM-free models that are “ confident in COSPA ''-Engadget Japan version

Xiaomi will announce two new SIM fleece phone models for Japan on June 2nd. One is the popular version of the smartphone "Mi Note 10 Lite" that was introduced at the time of entry in December 2019 last year. The other model is the "Redmi Note 9S," which is the first sub-brand Redmi series in Japan. By introducing two new products that are SIM-free, we will be able to expand our selection of cheaper options.

This time at Engadget, we interviewed Xiaomi's key person in Japan. We talked about the features of the new products and future strategies. The respondents are Steven Wang and Zhiyuan Zang of Xiaomi. In light of the effects of the new coronavirus infection, we are conducting an online call interview this time.

Xiaomi Steven Wang, General Manager of East Asia
Xiaomi Steven Wang, General Manager of East Asia

Xiaomi

Xiaomi Zhiyuan Zang, Deputy General Manager East Asia
Xiaomi Zhiyuan Zang, Deputy General Manager East Asia

Xiaomi


── First of all, please tell us about the smartphone you are announcing this time.

Mr. Zan

On June 2, we will announce two SIM fleece phones for Japan. The first is "Mi Note 10 Lite". It is a sibling model of the Mi Note 10, which was introduced when the company entered Japan last December (2019). The appearance is the same as the Mi Note 10, and the back has a unique multilayer coating that shines in rainbow colors depending on how the light hits. It is equipped with a large-screen organic EL display and has a customizable standby screen function.

Mi Note 10 Lite
Mi Note 10 Lite

There are two major differences from Mi Note 10. One is "color". "Nebula Purple" not found in Mi Note 10 has been added to the lineup. There is also a difference in the "camera". The Mi Note 10 had a 5-eye camera with a 100 million pixel sensor, but the Lite is a 4-eye camera with a 64 million pixel sensor. The latest image sensor made by Sony, IMX686, is adopted, and it has been finished so that it can be used in a wide range of scenes such as zoom, super wide angle and macro.

What kind of product is the other model?

Mr. Zan

The second product is "Redmi Note 9S". The Redmi series is one of Xiaomi's best-selling products. This time, it will be introduced to Japan for the first time.

Redmi's DNA is that "high-spec products are affordable." With more than 110 million worldwide shipments of the Redmi Note series, the Redmi Note 7 became Xiaomi's best-selling model in 2019.

Redmi Note 9S
Redmi Note 9S

This time, we will introduce the latest model, Redmi Note 9S, to Japan. The screen is equipped with a punch hole type in-camera large screen display, which Xiaomi calls Tiny Dot Display. The symmetrical and stylish design and the thin point of 8.8 mm in thickness despite the large capacity battery of 5020 mAh are also important points.

The rear camera has four eyes and consists of a main lens of 48 million pixels, an ultra wide angle, a depth sensor, and a macro lens. This is also a low-priced model packed with cameras that can be used in all situations.

──I think that the reader is probably interested, so I will ask, but how much will it be?

Mr. Zan

For pricing, wait for the June 2 online presentation. However, we are confident that the new product will be the most cost effective product in the Japanese market.

──Redmi Note 9S seems to stand out in “Good Cospa”, but what about Mi Note 10 Lite?

Mr. Zan

Yes. Mi Note 10 Lite also has confidence in COSPA. I think that it will be the model with the best cost performance in that price range. The Mi Note 10 Lite will be in the premium range, but with the appropriate design and materials. And probably the only product in that price range that has a Snapdragon 730G (a middle-high class chipset) and a camera with a 64 million pixel sensor.

Mi Note 10 Lite and Redmi Note 9S
The left is the Mi Note 10 Lite, and the right is the Redmi Note 9 Pro with the same specifications as the Redmi Note 9S. The picture of the actual machine is a model for Hong Kong released earlier

The Redmi Note 9S will also be the cheapest in the price range when compared by function. The Redmi Note has a punch hole type display, and like the higher model, it uses Gorilla glass 5 on both sides and has a good texture. It should be the product that provides the best quality for users who want good cospa.

──Is this new model a SIM-free model?

Mr. Zan

SIM-free direct sales of Xiaomi and MVNO. Telecommunications carriers have been tested with four domestic mobile carriers, including Rakuten Mobile.

Some carriers verify connectivity in collaboration with the carrier, but there is also a carrier that Xiaomi has confirmed its own operation.

■ 5G compatible SIM-free entry is under consideration

── Xiaomi entered the Japanese SIM-free market in December last year, and in March of this year, 5G smartphone at KDDI (au)"Mi 10 Lite 5G"Has also been adopted. Please tell us how you feel about the business development in the last six months.

Mr. Wan

I can't share a specific number, but both sales and shipments are at a satisfactory level for Xiaomi.

Above all, I feel the positive feedback from users and the media is coming back. The rating on Amazon is high, and the return rate of the product itself is also favorable.

In addition, when we entered the market in December, we started with only Xiaomi direct sales, but in the last six months we have expanded our sales channels to include MVNOs (LINE Mobile, IIJmio, gooSimseller).

In the Japanese market, where entry hurdles are high, it was surprising that a major carrier decided to sell in the half year after entering the market.

Mr. Wan

Xiaomi is a company that is good at predicting market trends.

The trend of the Japanese market is just at the point of transition from premium phones to the middle range. And the second factor is the start of the transition from 4G to 5G.

Looking at this trend, Xiaomi has sought to develop customers and develop sales strategies. One of Xiaomi's corporate strategies is to "provide high-spec products at low prices." We would also like to offer the flagship at a mid-range price.

Mi 10 Lite 5G
Mi 10 Lite 5G is expected to be the lowest price model among au's first 5G

For Xiaomi, it is also a big market for SIM fleece smartphones and MVNOs that it sells, but at this stage it is difficult to fully support 5G. So, first of all, we would like you to sell 5G smartphones from au and spread Xiaomi smartphones to Japan.

We plan to launch a 5G smartphone for the SIM-free market by the end of the year.

■ Xiaomi's strengths are "technology" and "efficiency"

── What do you think Xiaomi's strengths were that led to the adoption of “Mi 10 Lite 5G” for au?

Mr. Wan

We believe that Xiaomi's 5G smartphone has two advantages. “Technology” and “efficiency”.

Xiaomi has been researching 5G technology for over a year now. We have already introduced 9 types of 5G smartphones to the world market. There is no doubt that it is one of the world's leading manufacturers of 5G technology.

Efficiency is also a strength. Generally speaking, the manufacturing of smartphones is an area where the economy of scale, in which the manufacturing efficiency per unit increases as the scale increases, tends to work. Xiaomi is the fourth largest manufacturer of smartphone shipments in the world.

Cost efficiency also benefits R & D. For example, Xiaomi's low-priced Redmi Note series costs $ 10 million to develop one unit. However, if you ship the product on a large scale, the cost per unit can be reduced. From parts procurement to research and development, we work with the same awareness of efficiency.

It can be said that we were able to meet the needs of Japanese carriers as a result of improving our 5G smartphone know-how with technology and efficiency.

──Are there any companies in the Japanese market that you consider as a competitor of Xiaomi's smartphone manufacturer? For example, companies such as Apple and OPPO have already taken the lead in companies with global procurement capabilities, and Japanese manufacturers such as Sony and Sharp provide products that meet the needs of the Japanese market. What kind of company does Xiaomi position as a competitor?

Mr. Wan

As the smartphone makers, the four companies that are named now recognize that they are all developing with similar business models. Xiaomi has grown and adopted a different approach than its rivals. Business models and work methodologies are also very different.

Founded in 2010, Xiaomi is a young company among smartphone makers. Many of our competitors have large-scale production and a large share.

Mi IH rice cooker
"Mi IH rice cooker" that works with smartphones is one of Xiaomi's ecosystem products

TORU ISHII

What is unique about Xiaomi is that it positions the smartphone as the center of the “ecosystem”. In cooperation with partner companies, Xiaomi has developed more than 2000 kinds of ecosystem products for household appliances and lifestyle products.

Ecosystem products include affordable wearable devices such as Bands. In addition, although it has not been released in Japan, Xiaomi ranks fifth in the global market share of flat-screen TVs in 2019. There are also peripherals such as the mobile battery “Mi Power Bank”. These ecosystem products work with smartphones in various ways.

Xiaomi is also a "user-first" company.

For example, Xiaomi doesn't play TV commercials in Japan. Although TV has a great sales effect, it costs tens of millions of yen at a time. Xiaomi's idea is that instead of spending those tens of millions of dollars in advertisements, it is better to send them to consumers where they really need them.

We would like to be able to increase the value of our products through cost reduction efforts, even without issuing large-scale advertisements. I am confident that you can compare the specifications and choose above.

■ Expansion of ecosystem products in the future

── While smartphones for Japan are steadily increasing the number of models, we announced ecosystem products in Decemberrice cookerIt seems that the development in Japan is not progressing well, as it has only been selling and suitcases. What are your prospects for expanding ecosystem products in the future?

Mr. Wan

We would like to introduce ecosystem products little by little. The announcement on June 2nd is mainly about smartphones.

Ecosystem products in Japan, especially home appliances and other products, have very special circumstances and are not making good progress. Japan has high hurdles for various certifications and required technical specifications, and it is necessary to recreate products to meet Japan's special standards. The resources and the length of time to put them in place are challenges.

For example, Xiaomi's ecosystem products include air purifiers. If this were put into Japan, it would take about 8 months for product evaluation.

Although no specific plans have been set for the deployment of ecosystem products, we would like to focus our efforts on the latter half of 2020 and next year.

With regard to the development of ecosystem products, it seems that it is difficult to see the sales strategy in Japan. For example, some Xiaomi brand rice cookers are sold directly at Amazon's Xiaomi store, but there are also cases where import agents deal with "ecosystem products."

At Rakuten Market in March"Xiaomi Rakuten Official Store"Was opened, but at that time there was no announcement on the official website of Xiaomi (although it was confirmed that it was officially approved by the Xiaomi headquarters in China, it is currently closed due to renewal).

If there are cases where it is difficult to understand if it is an official sales channel, I think it may be difficult for users to purchase products. Do you have any plans to review the product sales method in the future?

Mr. Wan

Thank you for your feedback. We will consider this matter by tuning the official site Mi.com.

For example, I would like to consider improvement measures such as explicitly stating the stores that are officially sold on Mi.com.

── Thank you. Lastly, what's your message to Engadget readers?

Mr. Wan

Xiaomi wants long-term development in the Japanese market. First of all, please see the new smartphone presentation from 14:00 on June 2nd next week.

We also want to actively incorporate the voices of our users in order to improve our products. Please send us your feedback to Shaomi's official SNS accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and LINE, including your critical opinions!

── Thank you very much for today!

(Interview up to here)


The products that Xiaomi plans to announce on June 2 are "Mi Note 10 Lite" and "Redmi Note 9S" smartphones. Both are SIM-free and are expected to be lower priced products than the already released Mi Note 10. See the following articles for details on the models.

Since the details of the model are roughly known, the point where "expectation" will get the most attention and attention will be one point. The price of Mi Note 10 at the time of announcement was 52,800 yen (tax excluded), although it was cheap based on the specifications, it was a relatively expensive line product as a SIM fleece phone.

The Mi Note 10 Lite, which retains the texture of the Mi Note 10 while suppressing the camera performance, and the Redmi Note 9S, which will be launched for the first time in Japan, will be launched in a more price range, which is a SIM-free volume zone. .. The prices of these two models will give you an idea of ​​how serious Xiaomi is in the Japanese market.

Related Links:Xiaomi Japan

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