Redmi, an independent brand of Xiaomi Corp, unveiled its first smart TV on Thursday, signaling the Chinese smartphone vendor's further ambition to expand its presence in the TV sector.
Xiaomi Corp Vice-President Lu Weibing, who is in charge of the Redmi business, introduces the Redmi Note 8 smartphone on Thursday in Beijing. (Photo provided to China Daily)
The move came shortly after Honor, an independent brand of Huawei Technologies Co, made a similar push earlier this month, highlighting the mounting competition among companies to give new vitality to traditional TV businesses.
The Redmi TV starts from 3,799 yuan ($531), the same price as Honor's first TV product Honor Vision. But the former comes with a 70-inch screen, in comparison with the latter's 55-inch screen.
Lu Weibing, who is in charge of Redmi's business, said with the commercialization of 5G, smart TVs have become a high ground for competition.
"The bigger the screen is, the better the TVs are. Price is always the reason that limits users' willingness to buy big-screen TVs," Lu said.
The average price for 70-inch TVs sold in China from January to July was 6,848 yuan, about 3,000 yuan higher the price of Redmi's device, according to data from All View Cloud.
Redmi became an independent brand in January, a move widely seen by analysts as a key way to better compete with Honor, one of the two signature brands of Huawei.
The Beijing-based company already has sold smart TVs under its main brand Xiaomi for several years. And data from market research company International Data Corp show that Xiaomi shipped 2.35 million units of smart TVs in the first quarter of this year, and accounted for 21. 7 percent of the market, the largest one.
That marks a 79 percent year-on-year jump for Xiaomi, faster than the market average growth rate of 1.7 percent.
Market research company International Data Corp also predicted that the annual shipment of smart TVs in China will hit 49.38 million units by 2023, maintaining a steady growth momentum. That's far better than the global smartphone industry which is seeing declines for quarters due to market saturation.
Liu Yun, an analyst at IDC, said artificial intelligence is making TVs smarter and the diversified content for TVs will also attract more users to interact with these devices.
Zhao Ming, president of Honor, said earlier that smart TVs will function as a center for information sharing for families and a center for multi-device interaction.
At the launch event in Beijing on Thursday, Redmi also unveiled its latest handset Redmi Note 8, a handset designed to further attract consumers who prefer high-quality devices at affordable prices.
The new device, priced from 999 yuan, came after the company sold more than 20 million units of Redmi Note 7 around the world.