Opinion: Did Xiaomi just take inspiration from the OnePlus marketing book?

The smartphone industry, especially the segment focusing on the budget and mid-budget segment, faces stiff competition and that is probably why some Chinese vendors operate with a very fine margin on hardware sales and generate income by other means.

When the competition is so tough, you often see brands pulling themselves down or even emulating designs and features. And why not? From his business and just like in sports, the spirit of play is allowed, although for some this can infringe on ethics and integrity.

Lately we’ve seen Xiaomi pulling a leaf out of the OnePlus marketing book. It’s another case that the Chinese manufacturer accuses Realme, a brand associated with the OnePlus business, of being an imitator. So what exactly happened? During the recent launch of the Mi 10i, the company announced the phone in three different variants – 6GB / 64GB, 6GB / 128GB, and 8GB / 128GB.

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Everything is going well so far. However, when it comes to pricing, Xiaomi has only released the costs for the base variant with 64GB of internal storage. It was set at Rs 20,999, but the company did not indicate its availability.

This prompted questions from the media as the 64GB variant came out of the box and was not mentioned during the official briefing. Which tells us that Xiaomi wants to keep an ace up its sleeve on this front.

Mystery of a missing variant

Of course, one would be right to say that it hardly makes a difference, considering that no one really expects to acquire an Android device with 64GB of storage in 2021. And that is precisely why I personally found it all. this interesting and intriguing episode. Because, if there are no takers for a product, why would a company claim that their decision was based on user feedback? One fact to keep in mind is that most Chinese brands do not provide sales figures for their models.

What Xiaomi has done here is nothing new. Readers will recall that when OnePlus returned to the budget segment with the launch of the OnePlus North, it also announced three different variants and the lowest with, yes you guessed it, 64GB of internal storage!

The launch followed by aggressive marketing around the base model of the Nord series starts at Rs. 24,999, however, users were only able to purchase the higher variants that started in price at Rs. 27,999.

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Even though the Nord line didn’t sell in the number that OnePlus predicted, the 64GB variant, which garnered less interest, was introduced much later after there was noise in the media. The perception then was that the Nord line is “cheap” and priced closer to the original OnePlus One and Two smartphones, when in reality it was not.

And that’s probably what Xiaomi has done with the Mi 10i, creating a hype that its cheapest 5G phone starts at Rs. 20,999 when in reality it isn’t. However, unlike OnePlus Nord, the price difference between the variants is not that huge as the 128GB variant of Mi 10i is available at Rs. 1,000 more and the high end variant is only Rs. 3000 more expensive.

We’re seeing companies adding a color variant or a beefed-up variant to the lineup after the initial launch to make sure the product stays in the news and can rake in a few extra numbers, however, announcing a scaled-down version and that too. making it available for purchase is unfathomable.

The Mi 10i launched almost a month ago and since then we have not heard from the brand on its availability. We have reached out to Xiaomi for clarification and will update it in case we get a response from the company.

That said, brands should ideally focus on transparency with the end user rather than looking to earn brownie points over each other. The whole exercise of advertising and promoting a variant that you don’t intend to launch is futile and gets more negative feedback within the community.

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