Xiaomi sets its eyes on premium market with Poco

Having stormed to the top of the Indian smartphone rankings, Xiaomi is now chasing down premium customers with the launch of Poco,

The device, which will hit the shelves on August 22, takes Xiaomi out of the low- to medium-end market, putting the brand in direct competition with the likes of Samsung and Apple. The product does look the part, but the question of whether Xiaomi has a strong enough brand to live in the premium world is iffy.

According to the leaks, the Poco F1 device will have a 6.1-inch FHD+ display, 6GB or 8GB RAM with 64 GB, 128 GB or 256 GB storage. It will have a dual-rear camera as well with 12MP+5MP combination, a 20MP front camera and a larger 4000 mAh battery. It will also feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, with marketing focusing on speed and performance.

While Xiaomi has been performing exceptionally well in the budget smartphone market, recent IDC figures suggest it is now leading in the highly lucrative Indian market, its success in the premium market is a completely different story. Devices such as Mi 5 and Mi Mix 2 have performed pretty poorly with Xiaomi struggling to exert any influence on a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and more recently, Huawei.

The tricky aspect here is the brand. Premium devices are better performing than lesser products, but the brand is what genuinely convinces consumers to part company with such vast number of reddies. Apple has the premium brand which is associated with high-value, as does Samsung. These are brands which are continually exploring how much they can charge customers before the pinch point is hit, such is the power of the brand. Xiaomi is currently associated with the low-end market, a perception which will have to change if it wants to see any success.

Playing with the big boys is much more than a high-performance device, it’s all about image. It will be expensive to create and maintain this image, and Xiaomi’s willingness to sign cheques in the advertising and sponsorship world might dictate success here.