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Xiaomi unveils its MacBook Air competitor


Xiaomi wants a piece of every category in the consumer tech market—smartphones, power banks, drones, air purifiers, routers, LED TVs—and now a 13-inch and 12-inch compact sized notebook, unveiled yesterday that bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s Mac Book Air. Note that Xiaomi is looking to grab a piece of PC market, which according to IDC has declined 7.3% y-o-y as of June quarter, and declined by 11.5% in Q1 2016.

At a press even in Beijing yesterday, the company unveiled two models of its new Mi Notebook Air powered by Windows 10, which brags to be thinner than and slightly lighter in weight  when compared to Apple’s MacBook Air, as reported by CNET. Xiaomi’s 13.3-inch notebook with a full-HD display, weighs in at 1.28kg and 14.8 mm thickness, compared to MacBook Air’s 17mm thickness and 1.35 kg for its 13-inch version.

Mi Notebook Air also seems to beat MacBook Air, and similar high-performance notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 at pricing and specs, to some extent. The 12.5 inch model is priced at $400 offering an Intel Core M3 processor with 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD with a slot for additional SSD storage expansion and claims a 11.5-hour battery life. The cheapest 11-inch MacBook Air with 128GB SSD on the other hand costs $899.

The costlier 12.3-inch Mi Notebook Air with i5 processor, with inbuilt Nvidia GPU with 8 GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD costs $750, while the MacBook Air with the same i5 processor and 256GB SSD costs $1199. Dell’s XPS 13 model launched this year with almost the same specs was priced at $799 during launch.

However, these notebooks will only be sold at Xiaomi’s Mi store from August 2nd in the Chinese market for now. We are not sure if the laptop will be available in India or other Asian countries sooner, MediaNama has written to Xiaomi for a comment.

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Xiaomi in India

Launching a low-priced, high-performance notebook in India, might be a good strategy since Xiaomi’s previous products including Mi Band, and its range of smartphones have done well in the market. Mi band was reportedly the most shipped fitness band in India during Q1 2016, while the company had even announced plans to sell its smartphones in India across 5000 offline outlets.

It had earlier applied for exemption of local sourcing norms for opening single brand retail shops, However, the Indian government had relaxed FDI rule of mandatory 30% local sourcing last month for opening single brand retail stores for up to three years, and Xiaomi might soon go ahead with opening branded stores.

Market Share: Interestingly, an IDC report claimed that Apple overtook Xiaomi in terms of unit smartphone shipments in India during Q4 FY15. Apple had a market share of 4.6% during the quarter, while Xiaomi managed to capture a 3.5% share. But the scenario is changing: IDC pointed out that key Chinese vendors like Xiaomi, and others gained traction during Q1 FY16  with new product launches, aggressive marketing spends and expanding their channel presence in both offline and online.

Image Credits: Xiaomi China website

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