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Xiaomi’s sub-brand POCO goes independent amid uncertainty

The brand goes its own way as rumors about the POCO F2 circulate

Photo:Shutterstock.com

POCO, a smartphone sub-brand by consumer electronics giant Xiaomi, will become an independent brand, according to Xiaomi’s global vice president and India managing director Manu Kumar Jain.

“Excited to share: #POCO will now be an independent brand!” reads Manu Kumar Jain’s tweet. “What started as a sub-brand within Xiaomi, had grown into its own identity,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Launched in 2018, POCO was considered Xiaomi’s move to compete with OnePlus and Samsung’s high-end products in Southeast Asia and India, where Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone vendor and top-seller in India, is mainly known for its mid-and low-range offerings.

POCO has only released one smartphone since inception, the POCO F1. The model, which features a once-cutting edge Snapdragon 845 chip, was a hit in 2018, starting at just USD 300. By comparison, the OnePlus 6, which was also unveiled in 2018 and featured the same chipset, started around USD 529. Despite rumors of an upcoming POCO F2, the company has yet to disclose more information officially.

In July, Jai Mani, then head of POCO, left the company and was followed by several other core members. This led to industry-watchers saying Xiaomi would likely kill off POCO due to overlap with Xiaomi’s Redmi K series products.

When contacted by KrASIA, Xiaomi did not provide further details of its future cooperation with POCO.

Overseas sales have become an increasingly crucial source of revenue for Xiaomi. While the company saw revenue from smartphone sales drop by 7.8% in 2019’s third quarter amid declines in China’s smartphone industry and strong domestic competition from Huawei, the company claimed substantial growth in overseas markets. These accounted for nearly half of total revenue from smartphone sales, they said.