SEOUL, March 31 (Korea Bizwire) – China-based tech manufacturer Xiaomi Inc. plans to sell more products through partnerships with local distributors in South Korea, but has yet to decide on whether to launch its own smartphone any time soon, company officials said Thursday.
KomaTrade, a South Korean sales partner of Xiaomi, will start to sell the 65-inch Mi Curved TV3 produced by the Chinese firm. The release is slated for the “near future,” it added.
The TV boasts strong connectivity with smartphones, tablet PCs, and laptops, and is equipped with panels made by leading brands such as Samsung, LG, or Sharp. It will cost around “half” of existing models being sold in the market.
“There have been many problems in previous sales of Xiaomi products here due to fake goods or direct purchases,” said Lee Joon-sok, who heads KomaTrade. “Now, we plan to join ties with Xiaomi to provide for South Korean users quickly and safely with reasonable prices.”
Xiaomi is seeking to tap deeper into the South Korean market where home-grown players like Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. strongly hold ground.
KomaTrade said it will also unveil other products by Xiaomi such as water purifiers and even a mattress, expanding the scope of products sold here.
During the showcase event, KomaTrade demonstrated the Xiaomi Ninebot Mini, an automatic transporter that can be used by standing on it with two feet.
KomaTrade also said it will provide warranty and repair services in South Korea for all official Xiaomi products, including those purchased through other platforms.’
Xiami’s products have been gaining popularity here for their low prices and good quality. Earlier this month, Xiaomi joined forces with Youmi to sell its products in South Korea.
KomaTrade and Yuomi are the only two authorized distributors of Xiaomi products here.
But Xiaomi is still undecided over the sales of its smartphones in the near future. Its smartphones are also sold here but only through direct purchases from online commerce shops.
“It’s all planning. We have to wait for the right moment,” Leo Sun, who heads Youmi, told Yonhap News Agency, but added Xiaomi currently acknowledges that many users in South Korea are purchasing its smartphone through direct purchases.
Industry watchers earlier said Xiaomi has been reluctant to make official overseas releases of its smartphones due to copyright issues.
“The intellectual property right (IPR) issue is always a problem for all smartphone makers. We are now accumulating our own IPR. So we consider it to not be an issue,” Leo added. “We do think the Korean market is a very important market for us. We want to be more prepared.”
Leo added Xiaomi smartphones will boast “much lower” retail prices once released.
Officials from Xiaomi declined to comment on the release plan of smartphones, including whether the delay comes due to copyright issues.
“South Korea, despite its small size, stands as an important market for Xiaomi due to its high interest in technology,” another official from Xiaomi said. “But we are under internal discussions on smartphones.”
Chinese firms like Xiaomi have been emerging as major drags on the performances of South Korean tech giants, as they have narrowed the technology gap with Samsung and LG while boasting better price competitiveness.
The rising popularity of budget smartphones in South Korea also casts concerns that once officially launched, Xiaomi may eat into the significant market shares of Samsung and LG at home.