Manu Kumar Jian, the company's global vice president and India head, announced the news via Twitter yesterday. The post said, “What started as a sub-brand within Xiaomi, has grown into its own identity. POCO F1 was an incredibly popular phone. We feel the time is right to let POCO operate on its own.”
This news comes only a few days after Xiaomi showed its desire to focus on its premium segment in China. The company plans to launch several premium ‘Mi’ flagship devices in the country. Its Redmi sub-brand, however, will continue to focus on the budget segment. They also revealed that the POCO F1, the only smartphone to be launched under the POCO brand, remains a “successful” handset. The POCO F1, a USD 300 smartphone, was launched in 50 markets internationally.
With that being said, POCO is expected to launch its new product, the POCO F2 later this year, although there is little to nothing that we know about the phone and its specs. Just like the POCO F1, however, the POCO F2 is likely to debut in India before making its way to other markets.
POCO was launched by Xiaomi as a high-end premium smartphone sub-brand to compete directly with the flagship smartphones of Samsung and OnePlus. In an interview with Alvin Tse, the head of POCO, said that they were working on a number of smartphones and were also thinking about other gadget categories.
According to business today, Xiaomi intends to launch products across several categories, including ultra-premium smartphones and Mi Home portfolio. Until now, the focus was on the Redmi series, which helped the company garner popularity as well as market share in the Indian market.
Raghu Reddy, Head of Categories at Xiaomi India, said in a statement: “These launches will be across categories, which we think will help ‘Mi’ maintain consumer interest in 2020. We also intend to bring the premium smartphones from the Mi line-up, which has recorded a substantial interest since we entered the market.”
Data from CMR India Mobile Handset Market Review Report for the third quarter of 2019 shows that, while Xiaomi continues to be the market leader in smartphone shipments in the country, its growth declined by 2% year-on-year. The Redmi 7A, Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7S together contributed more than 50% to its overall shipments. The company even saw positive growth for Redmi K20 series, which contributed 13% to its overall shipments of premium smartphones. On the other hand, the BBK Group, the parent company of OPPO, Vivo, Realme, and OnePlus, achieved a record high of 42% in Q3 2019, registering a 23% year-on-year growth.
With Realme, the BKK-owned upstart consuming market share and giving a tough competition to Xiaomi last year, the sudden fascination of the company about launching premium merchandise in India is understandable. It is doing what it may to stay on top, which means leveraging its huge catalog of IoT and lifestyle merchandise beneath the Mi label.