Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced today that it plans to launch two smartphones using Samsung camera sensors, amid the latter’s retreat from China.
Xiaomi’s co-founder and president Lin Bin said at a briefing in Beijing that the two companies would launch two new phones, one 108-megapixel Xiaomi brand smartphone and a 64-megapixel Redmi brand smartphone that will both contain some of Samsung’s camera technology.
The company did not give more details about these phones nor did it say when they would become available in the market.
The briefing today is an apparent move to steal the thunder from its rival Oppo, which is set to launch its first smartphone with a 64-megapixel camera tomorrow.
The cooperation between Xiaomi and Samsung on camera technology comes at a time when the two companies are seeing smartphone sales drop both globally and in China.
Xiaomi’s smartphone market share in China dropped from 13.9% in the second quarter of 2018 to 11.8% for the same period in 2019, according to research firm Canalys. Samsung, meanwhile, now only has a 0.7% share of the Chinese smartphone market in the same quarter, shipping about 700,000 units, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Huawei, the major competitor to both Xiaomi and Samsung in China, saw an increase in its domestic market share at the expense of its two rivals. Huawei’s domestic shipments went from 28.5 million units in the second quarter of 2018 to 37.3 million in the same quarter of 2019.
It is unclear to what extent the two smartphone makers might continue their cooperation as they seek to fend off further loss of market share to Huawei.
Samsung has reportedly cut production and laid-off workers in China, a sign widely seen as a retreat from the Chinese market. The South Korean tech giant has also reportedly outsourced some of its Chinese production to Wintech, a longtime Xiaomi supplier.
Last year, a Samsung spokesperson said the company was considering introducing the original design manufacturer (ODM) system to China, according to the Korea Herald. An ODM is a company that designs and manufactures a product, as specified, that is eventually rebranded by another firm for sale.