Chinese smartphone manufacturers are changing their strategy to survive the struggling smartphone market, moving away from producing budget-friendly phones and adopting a “premium” approach. With the global smartphone market experiencing a decline in sales, it has become increasingly important for companies to innovate and produce high-quality products to stay ahead of the competition.
Xiaomi, one of the leading Chinese smartphone manufacturers, recently unveiled its highest-end product, the “Xiaomi 13 Ultra.” Unlike the “basic” and “pro” models, which were only released in the domestic market, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is available for sale worldwide, with an expected price of around $1,800. The phone’s price point indicates Xiaomi’s move into the premium market, shedding its previous budget image.
The most significant feature of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is its powerful rear camera, called the “King Eye,” which is equipped with four lenses, including a main lens with a Sony IMX989 sensor, a wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens, all with a total of 50 million pixels. The camera performance has been improved from the previous model with the inclusion of Leica’s “Summicron” optical lens. During the product launch event, Xiaomi compared the camera performance of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra with that of Apple’s top flagship phone, the “iPhone 14 Pro,” to demonstrate their confidence in their camera technology.
In addition to the camera, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra boasts impressive performance features. The phone features Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 2nd generation chip, a 120Hz high-refresh-rate display, a 4,900mAh large-capacity battery, and 90W ultra-fast charging (50W wireless).
Xiaomi’s entry into the premium smartphone market is interpreted as due to the growth trend. According to Counterpoint Research, a market research firm, global smartphone sales fell 12% last year compared to the previous year, but sales of premium smartphones priced at $600 (about 800,000 won, based on wholesale prices) increased by 1%. In terms of revenue, for the first time, premium smartphones accounted for 55% of the world’s total smartphone market revenue.
In conclusion, the Chinese smartphone market is shifting its focus from budget-friendly phones to premium products to keep up with the industry’s changing trends. With Xiaomi’s entry into the premium smartphone market, it remains to be seen whether other Chinese smartphone manufacturers will follow suit and shed their budget image, emphasizing their ability to produce high-quality, premium products.