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Xiaomi's Mi3 smartphone set for Taiwan launch on February 20

TAIPEI -- Xiaomi (小米) Corp., a fast-growing Chinese maker of cheap smartphones, is scheduled to launch its high-end Mi3 in Taiwan on Feb. 20 in a bid to expand its foothold overseas.

The phone will be launched at a press conference hosted by Xiaomi co-founder and President Bin Lin and featuring a “special guest,” the company said in an invitation to Taiwanese media, but did not identify the guest.

Market sources said that Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., which teamed up with Xiaomi last April to sell Mi2S and mid-tier Hongmi phones exclusively in Taiwan, will begin sales of the new Mi3 in early March.

Chunghwa Telecom Co., the country's largest mobile operator, is expected to join the sales campaign in light of the fact that the low-cost Xiaomi phones have become popular among price-sensitive consumers, the sources said.

Unveiled in September last year, the Mi3 features top-shelf hardware specifications such as a 5 inch 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S800 quad-core processor and a 13-megapixel main camera.

A 16GB model of the phone will go on sale in China later this month at 1,999 Chinese yuan (US$329), while the 64GB model will cost 2,499 yuan.

Xiaomi said it sold 18.7 million smartphones in 2013 and aims to double its shipments in 2014 through overseas expansion and the implementation of the 4G LTE network in China.

The company set up operations in Singapore earlier this year as part of its effort to tap into promising Southeast Asian markets.

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