Hugely popular Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi has taken further steps out of Asia, and into the wider international market. While it has recently opened an online store in Europe and the U.S. for a select few accessories, this time it's all about its smartphones. The country in question is Brazil, the fourth largest smartphone market in the world, and a considerable opportunity for the growing brand.
The company has announced a single phone for Brazil, the Redmi 2, which will be sold from July 7 for the equivalent of $160. For that you get a 4.7-inch, 720p display, powered by a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor with 1GB of RAM. It runs Android, but with Xiaomi's extensive MIUI skin over the top. There are two cameras fitted, an 8 megapixel on the rear, and a 2 megapixel on the front. A 2200mAh battery is inside, there's 8GB of internal memory, a MicroSD card slot, two SIMs, and 4G LTE connectivity.
For the price, it's a good deal, especially when you consider a 16GB Apple iPhone 6 costs in excess of $1,100 without a contract in Brazil. Xiaomi also sells the Redmi 2 in India, where it's even cheaper at the local equivalent of just $110.
Brazil has high import taxes, and Xiaomi has decided to build the Brazilian Redmi 2 locally, and will also buy certain components from firms in the country. It's also the first time the company has built phones outside of China. Fans can buy the Redmi 2 online through Xiaomi's own store, where it will also sell the Xiaomi Mi Band fitness tracker and the Mi PowerBank extended battery. According to the Wall Street Journal, Xiaomi's not looking to sell its phones in retail stores.
Ironically, Xiaomi held its launch event in a Sao Paulo shopping mall, where Brazilian Hugo Barra -- former Google exec and now Xiaomi's VP for Product -- was apparently greeted like a rock star. He told the Financial Times that he expects Xiaomi's business model and keenly priced hardware to do well in Brazil, and that it would be, "a stepping stone in to Latin America for us."