The Chinese tech giant Xiaomi continues its challenge on the more-established competition on European soil with a launch into the UK. With its latest flagship, the Mi 8 Pro, the Beijing-based manufacturer has more than a puncher’s chance of being a big hit. Here’s why.
You can’t knock Xiaomi’s ambitions. Not content with whirlwind success in Asia, the brand is gunning for western Europe and who can blame them? During an event in London to mark the launch of the first Mi Store, which opens in the English capital on November 18th, Xiaomi was proud to highlight it has taken the company just 7 years to hit the $15 billion in revenue mark. For comparison, it took Google 9 years to reach that figure. Facebook, 12 years. Apple, 20 years.
Whatever you think about the fine line that Xiaomi treads between inspiration and outright plagiarism when it comes to product design, you can’t argue with those numbers. Xiaomi is already the third best-selling smartphone brand in Spain, the fourth-best in Italy and the fifth-best in France. Apple, Samsung, are you worried yet?
The new London store is not a pop-up, but a permanent fixture in Shepard’s Bush’s Westfield Shopping Centre. A range of Xiaomi products will be on sale including laptops, backpacks, an electric scooter, fitness trackers and headphones. The other major line of products is the one that I think could have a real impact on the UK market: the smartphones.
The new Mi 8 Pro, Xiaomi’s latest flagship looks like an iPhone X, which not a bad thing. It packs a Snapdragon 845 with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has a notch that customers seem to associate with ‘premium’ or ‘flagship’ connotations. It also has an in-display fingerprint sensor and 3D face unlock technology.
There’s a handsome-looking transparent black version alongside a Meteorite black and a Twightlight Gold option, not too dissimilar from the style we’ve seen on the Huawei P20 Pro.
Why the Mi 8 Pro will be a success in Europe
In a post-Brexit world where most of us are expecting the pound to tank after March 2019, at least in the short terms, 500 quid is going to be a monumental difference to consumers in the UK. What’s more, the Mi 8 Pro is not going to be locked away in a London shopping center. Xiaomi has already announced a host of partners including Amazon, Carphone Warehouse, Argos, and John Lewis.
The Pocophone F1 is also coming to the UK, as are the more budget-friendly Redmi phones. However, with the lack of the Mi MIX 3 in the region, Xiaomi will be going big on marketing the Mi 8 Pro. People are going to see this thing everywhere, and I think they are going to buy it.
The rumors of an American launch have already started circulating in media circles. Can Xiaomi do what Huawei couldn’t and cross the Atlantic in the near future? After conquering Europe, you wouldn't bet against it!