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With Mi 4i smartphone, Xiaomi turns to India

小米推出4i手机,进军印度市场.jpg


The upstart Chinese maker of smartphones just hosted its biggest event outside of its home country to introduce a new flagship phone, and it wasn’t in the United States or even Europe, it was in India.

作为中国智能手机领域的新秀,小米刚刚召开了它最大的一次境外发布会,推出了新的旗舰手机。发布会的地点不是美国,甚至不是欧洲,而是在印度。

The phone, the Mi 4i, was introduced on Thursday by Hugo Barra, a former Google executive. The phone includes impressive specs and special features in India — like extra language options — and will go on sale April 30 in India, and in May in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

这款手机名为“小米4i”,本周四由谷歌前高管雨果·巴拉登台发布。它的技术规格令人印象深刻,而且专为印度用户设计了特殊功能——比如额外的语言选项。4i将于4月30日在印度发售,5月登陆香港、台湾、新加坡、马来西亚和印度尼西亚。

As the company’s Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s chief executive, normally does in China, Mr. Barra guided an enthusiastic audience through the phone’s range of features. But for all the attention Xiaomi gives to technical details and its operating system, the denouement came when Mr. Barra announced the price of the phone: 12,999 rupees, or roughly $200, a low price for a flagship device.

就像小米首席执行官雷军通常在中国做的那样,巴拉向热情的观众介绍了这款手机的诸多功能。尽管小米煞费苦心地展示这款手机的技术细节及其操作系统,但高潮出现在巴拉宣布手机的价格时:12999卢比。对于一款旗舰手机来说,这个价格相当低廉。

While there are a huge number of reasons for Xiaomi, valued at $45 billion after its latest December fund-raising round, not to push into markets like the United States — from potential patent lawsuits to having to develop relationships with carriers — perhaps the primary reason Xiaomi is entering India is because the country looks quite a bit like China several years ago.

小米去年12月进行最近一轮融资时,估值为450亿美元。虽然出于很多原因,它没有向美国这样的市场推进——可能面临专利诉讼,必须培养与运营商的关系等——但小米进军印度的主要原因,也许是该国看上去与数年前的中国颇有几分相似。

India has a huge population with very few owners of smartphones. As a developing country, India’s user needs, from multiple SIM cards to concerns about data consumption, also resemble those of Chinese users.

印度人口众多,但智能手机用户非常少。作为一个发展中国家,印度用户的需求和中国用户很相似,比如希望有多张SIM卡待机,对数据流量的消耗很关注等等。

Most importantly, Indians are expected to buy far more smartphones this year than they did in 2014, according to IDC, the research firm. IDC estimates that the country will buy 111 million smartphones this year and 149 million units in 2016. India is expected to outpace the United States in sales in the coming years.

最重要的是,根据研究公司IDC的预计,相对于2014年,印度用户将在今年购买远远更多的智能手机。IDC估计,印度用户今年将购买1.11亿部智能手机,2016年将达1.49亿。预计在未来几年,印度的智能手机销量将超过美国。

With the growth of China’s smartphone market slowing, it’s an obvious next stop for a company like Xiaomi. The only problem is other Chinese companies, from the well-known like Lenovo to the unheard of like Oppo, also have the same idea. Beyond Chinese rivals, Xiaomi faces Samsung, which holds top market share in India, and several local Indian companies, most notably Micromax. Xiaomi throwing its weight at India is a recognition that the company will face competition.

随着中国智能手机市场增速的放缓,对于小米这样的公司而言,印度是显而易见的下一站。唯一的问题在于,从著名的联想到默默无闻的OPPO,其他中国企业也抱有同样的想法。除了中国竞争对手之外,小米还要对阵三星公司,目前三星在印度占据了最大的市场份额;此外还有几家印度本土公司,其中最著名的是Micromax。小米在印度下这么大的力气,相当于承认了它将面临怎样的竞争。

“I don’t expect them to have the exponential growth they had in China,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, an IDC analyst.

“我不觉得小米能像在中国那样,实现成倍的增长,”IDC分析师基兰吉特·考尔说。

“But if you don’t keep it as a comparison, there’s a lot of opporuntiy, because India is in that growth phase that China was in two years ago,” she said.

“但是,如果你不这样去做比较的话,会看到这里有很多机遇,因为印度处在中国两年前那样的增长阶段,”她说。

Yet the $200 price point makes the Mi 4i far cheaper than the leading phones from other companies like Samsung, HTC and Motorola. Even so, in India, the Xiaomi phone still ranks as expensive, about double the price of the cheap mainstays of companies like Micromax.

不过4i手机1300元这样的价位,比三星、HTC和摩托罗拉等公司的主打机型便宜很多。即便如此,在印度,4i仍算比较昂贵的手机,比Micromax等公司的低档主打机型贵了一倍。

As Mr. Barra said at the close of the event, “Today is a very, very special day for us, it’s the day when we’ve taken the biggest step as a young five-year-old company that we’ve ever done into global markets by putting our best phone forward, by building a flagship phone designed just for India.”

巴拉在发布会结束时说,“今天对我们来说是一个非常、非常特别的日子,我们是一家只有5年历史的年轻公司,通过推出我们最好的手机,通过打造一款专为印度设计的旗舰手机,今天我们向全球市场迈出了最大的一步。”

Xiaomi is hoping that will lead people who may pay for a cheaper phone to spend a bit more, while it assumes others who are spending far more on high-end Samsung phones to give it a try. Whether they reciprocate Xiaomi’s attention to India will go a long way to showing whether the company can succeed in a big way outside of China.

小米希望,那些本来打算买更便宜手机的人,会多花一点钱买4i,而它也预期,在三星高端手机上花费远远更多钱的用户,会尝试一下使用4i。小米对印度市场的投入是否能得到回报,会在很大程度上显示,这家公司能否在中国以外取得巨大成功。

2016-06-23

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