Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi announced the launch of its latest budget smartphone Redmi Note 5 in South Korea on Monday, brought to local consumers for the first time in partnership with Korea’s two-largest telecom companies SK Telecom and KT.
The release of the Redmi Note 5 was announced at a rare launch event hosted by Xiaomi and its local distribution partner G-mobi Korea in Seoul on Monday, a move that hints at the Chinese tech firm’s newfound resolve to ramp up its presence in the Korean market.
Previously, Xiaomi’s devices were sold in Korea only via online shopping malls or via third-party smartphone retailers. But the Chinese tech firm has now decided to join hands with two local telcos to better market its popular Redmi Note 5 smartphone to local consumers.
The Redmi Note 5 is displayed at the device`s Korean launch event held at Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas, Monday (Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald)
The Redmi Note 5 is officially priced in Korea at 299,200 won ($265). However, with subsidies that come with certain data plans offered by SKT and KT, the price could drop to as much as below 100,000 won, the firms said.
In addition to the two telecom companies, the Redmi Note 5 is now available for purchase at Lotte’s electronics store chain Hi-Mart and CJ Hellovision. LG Uplus, Korea’s third-largest telco, is not selling the Xiaomi device at this time.
“Sharing the same vision with Xiaomi, G-mobi has always been committed to bringing amazing products at accessible prices to Korea. This time, G-mobi brings Xiaomi’s amazing product at honest pricing,” said Jung Seung-hee, G-mobi Korea’s CEO.
Launched initially in China and India in February, the Redmi Note 5 sports a 5.99-inch full high-definition display, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 GB of memory. It also comes with a 4000 mAh battery and is available in two colors -- black and gold.
According to Xiaomi, the device’s biggest selling point is its dual camera system equipped with premium autofocus technology. The Redmi Note 5 is equipped with a 12 megapixel rear camera and a 5 MP front camera, which are features typically found only in high-end smartphones.
The introduction of the Redmi Note 5 is expected to heat up competition in Korea’s smartphone market, which has long been dubbed a “graveyard” for foreign smartphone makers due to Samsung Electronics’ overwhelming dominance.
At the moment, Xiaomi is the biggest smartphone maker by size in India. Xiaomi captured the No. 1 spot in India’s smartphone sales in the first quarter, with a 31.1 percent market share, according to data released by Counterpoint Research.
Korea’s Samsung Electronics came in second with a market share of 26.2 percent in India’s smartphone market, while China’s Oppo came in third, according to the global market research company.
By Sohn Ji-young (email@example.com