Xiaomi back in Philippines with phone under P5,000

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2018 09:01 AM

MANILA - Xiaomi, the world's fourth largest smartphone vendor, is back in the Philippines after a two-year absence, launching on Tuesday twin handsets that challenge its fellow Chinese competitors in terms of price.

The near bezel-less Redmi 5 Plus is priced at P9,990 while the Redmi 5A costs P4,590. Both will be available this week, ahead of rival Huawei's Nova 2 Lite, also priced at P9,990.

Since Xiaomi left the Philippines in 2016, Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have flooded the market with bang-for-buck handsets, challenging Apple and Samsung.

The company is "building confidence" among Filipino consumers, said Xiaomi overseas business development manager John Chen.

Since February, Xiaomi opened 2 stores in the capital and plans to open 3 more, including one in Cebu and another in Davao, Chen said.

"If you look at the Philippines market, there's still a lot of vibrance," Chen said, adding Filipinos still bought Xiaomi products from the grey market while there were no official stores.

John Chen, Xiaomi overseas business development manager, introduces the Xiaomi Redmi 5a

Xiaomi was ahead of Samsung and Apple with near bezel-less screens with the glass and ceramic Mi Mix from 2016.

Chen said that Xiaomi left the Philippines 2 years ago because the company expanded too fast and saw its resources spread too thin. 

Xiaomi, which built a following in China by selling online affordable phones with above-average specs, had only around a thousand employees then. 

Since leaving the Philippines, Xiaomi focused on fast-growing markets like India where it quickly rose to the top, Chen said.

With its current workforce of 10,000, Xiaomi is looking to increase its market share in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia, he said.