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Xiaomi's Hongmi smartphone to hit local market next week

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- China-based mobile company Xiaomi launched pre-sales for Hongmi —its cheapest new phone line — on Monday, with over 10,000 orders placed in the first fifteen minutes, boding well for its venture into the Taiwanese market.

Chinese mobile company Xiaomi has already courted considerable success on the mainland with its budget smartphones, but the three-year-old company is also planning to make inroads in the Taiwanese market with the launch of its new Hongmi phone.

According to Taiwan's United Evening News, Hongmi, the cheapest of Xiaomi's new phone line, will be sold in Taiwan starting on Dec. 9 for NT$3,999, similar to its selling price in mainland China of 799 yuan.

Pre-sales of Hongmi were launched at mid-day yesterday and an avalanche of 10,000 orders came through in the first fifteen minutes, United Evening News cited Xiaomi as reporting.

Despite being a success story in the Chinese market, Xiaomi smartphones haven't gained widespread popularity among Taiwanese consumers due to weak service and maintenance deployments.

Analysts said Xiaomi decided to play hard this time by waging a cut-throat price war, adding that the strategy would more or less help boost its sales in Taiwan.

However, the adoption of Hongmi phones in Taiwan might present a blow to the island's former homegrown favorite, HTC. Once favored by many Taiwanese and international consumers three years ago, plummeting sales caused HTC to fall off of a list of the world's top-ten smartphone makers in the first quarter of 2013, according to market research firm Gartner.

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