PCCW is first Xiaomi dealer in HK

Joseph Waring
14 Jan 2014

PCCW-HKT yesterday announced it has entered into a partnership with Xiaomi to become the first distributor of company’s Hongmi smartphones in Hong Kong.

HKT is looking to ride on the popularity the new line of smartphone from the Chinese maker, which sold almost 19 million smartphones last year (up 160% from the previous year). The company’s CEO recently said it aims sell 40 million handset this year. The brand has been outselling iPhones in China.

HKT group MD Alex Arena, speaking at the brief press conference in Kowloon, said the Xiaomi line will be targeted at its 2G users, who haven’t yet experienced 3G data. “This entry-level smartphone could help us to migrate off 2G networks to 3G.”

And he said customers who start with a Xiaomi handset could over time upgrade to more expensive models, so he sees no cannibalization of other models at the high-end. “As with other industries, like automobiles, there are different segments, which all can thrive.”

When asked about quantieis available, Arena said the company is trying to get its hands on as many as possible and wasn’t able to give specifics. But he did say: “Within 36 seconds of its launch, 10,000 units were sold online on the HKT channel.”

The Hongmi (Red Rice) is a high-quality model priced at a fraction of high-end offerings from the top makers. With a 4.7-inch display and a quad-core 1.5-GHz processor, the handset retails at HK$999 ($128).

Because a large percentage of models are sold online in China and the fact that it has ultra-thin margins, Xiaomi has compared itself to US online retailer Amazon. It also has developed a customized version of the Android OS, which is called MIUI.

HKT is taking preorders, from Jan 14-19, with the official launch and distribution of handsets to customers on the 20th.

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