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Xiaomi reopens over 1,800 retail stores after China records zero domestic new coronavirus cases

Xiaomi and its main Android handset rivals, including Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, had been hoping to boost sales this year with 5G smartphones.

Photo: Stock.tuchong.com

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has reopened over 1,800 retail stores in China and more than 80% of its suppliers have resumed operations on Thursday, after the country recorded zero domestic new coronavirus cases for the first time since the outbreak began.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi’s budget brand Redmi will launch another 5G model, the K30 Pro, next Tuesday as part of the company’s plan to release at least 10 5G mobile phones in 2020, said company president Wang Xiang in a media conference call on Thursday.

Wang said that while Xiaomi will maintain a stable products release pace, the company will also work with upstream and downstream companies along the supply chain to stabilize production amid the pandemic.

Xiaomi and its main Android handset rivals, including market leader Huawei Technologies, Oppo, and Vivo, had been hoping to boost sales this year with the release of more 5G smartphones, compatible with the next-generation mobile network infrastructure being rolled out by the country’s three telecommunications carriers.

However, the coronavirus outbreak has forced the temporary closure of smartphone factories across China, as authorities locked down a number of communities and imposed restrictions on large groups of people gathering in one place.

As a result, research firms have slashed their forecasts for China’s smartphone sales in 2020. Canalys and Strategy Analytics both expect shipments to drop 50% in the first quarter from a year ago, while IDC sees a 30% slide.

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Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone vendor, plans to forge ahead in the higher-end handset segment, in an aggressive bid to grab market share from Huawei.

The commitment to the high-end market comes after Xiaomi, whose smartphones are mainly priced in the mid to low price range, revealed its latest 5G smartphones, the flagship Mi 10 series, last month via a live-streamed conference amid nationwide restrictions on travel and large gatherings because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Xiaomi has already dropped price limits … and we will go all out in the high-end market,” said Lei Jun, founder and chief executive of Xiaomi, on social media platform Weibo last week.

Xiaomi’s Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro models began shipping in China last month, starting at RMB 3,999 (about USD 570) and RMB 4,999 respectively. Rival Oppo, meanwhile, recently announced its flagship Find X2 series with a starting price of RMB 5,499.

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post.