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July 22, 2014

Chinese ‘iPhone killer’ unveiled

Xiaomi’s Mi 4 could shove Apple out of the market.

By Ben Sullivan

Chinese device manufacturer Xiaomi has announced a new smartphone that aims to take on Apple’s iPhone in the Chinese mobile market.

Apple is currently one of the largest competitors to national Chinese phone makers in the country, but Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun hope that will change with the Mi 4, a phone that he dubbed "better than the iPhone".

During the glamourous mobile announcement in Beijing, Lei made numerous references to Apple, stating: "Our white version is also better than their white version. Even our white color is whiter!"

As the Chinese mobile market is reaching saturation point, both national and foreign manufacturers are struggling to shift devices in one of the largest mobile markets in the world.

South Korean giant Samsung announced in June that it is facing poor smartphone shipments in the region.

The Mi 4 closely resembles an iPhone, with a beveled metal rim, a 5-inch screen and a 2.5GHz processor. It will go on sale at the end of July for 1999 yuan, which is £189.

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Xiaomi was started in 2010, and thanks to the impressive scale of the Chinese mobile market, became the sixth largest selling smartphone vendor in the world in the first quarter of 2014. Xiaomi also announced new wearables at the Beijing event. A firm will release a wristband that could go for as little as £8.

Lei said: "I believe this wristband will very soon become the world’s best selling wristband."

It’s called the Mi Band, and is a fitness tracker with a 30-day battery life. The band reportedly unlocks the wearer’s phone when the two devices are close to eachother.

Lei said: "The first time I tried Xiaomi’s wristband, I couldn’t put it down."

It has also been reported that Xiaomi recently splashed out almost $600,000 on its mi.com URL as part of a rebranding. The rebranding shifted the company’s focus to include foreign markets such as Turkey, India, and Brazil.

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