The MiPad, which comes in six colors, will have a 7.9 inch screen,
the same size as an iPad Mini.
Like other tablets, it comes equipped with wireless internet, front
and back cameras and a built-in memory capacity of 16 gigabytes or
64 gigabytes. But it is priced cheaper than comparable iPad Mini and
Samsung Galaxy Tab models at 1,499 yuan ($240) for the smaller
The company did not say anything about a 4G version.
"We wanted the hardware to come close to, or even surpass Apple's
iPad," Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun said at the launch event in Beijing.
Xiaomi's flagship smartphones, which are among the fastest selling
in China, resemble Apple's iPhone.
Lei said an initial version of the tablet would be available for
testing by the public in mid-June, but he declined to specify a
launch date or sales targets. It was also not clear if the MiPad
would be sold outside China.
The worldwide tablet market, which saw shipments of 195.4 million
devices in 2013, is forecast to grow nearly 40 percent this year,
according to consultants Gartner, Inc, with China especially seeing
Privately held Xiaomi became the world's sixth-largest smartphone
vendor in the first quarter of 2014, according to data firm Canalys,
after repeatedly doubling its sales. It's cheap yet sleek phones are
popular in China, the world's largest market for smartphones.
The company expects to sell 40 million phones this year, compared to
18.7 million last year and 7.2 million the year before.
DIFFERENT BUSINESS MODEL
Xiaomi said its MiPad will have a plastic case and run on its own
Android-based operating system. The company, founded in 2010, leads
a group of young Chinese home-grown handset brands that have
successfully attracted local consumers with advanced features at
lower prices than global brands.
"Xiaomi has a different business model than Apple or Samsung," said
Ben Thompson, founder of Stratechery.com, a technology and strategy
[to top of second column]
"Apple makes it profits on the hardware, while Xiaomi claims they
will make their profits on services."
Xiaomi is now looking to expand abroad, and has already started
selling its phones in Singapore and Taiwan.
At an April event in Beijing, Hugo Barra, a Xiaomi vice president
and former Google Inc executive, said the firm is planning to expand
into Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Brazil
In October, Xiaomi launched its flagship Mi 3 smartphone, selling
100,000 units in 90 seconds when it was released online. Its
low-cost Redmi handset has also saw strong sales in China and was
recently launched in Singapore.
Xiaomi's success also is creating new opportunities for parts
suppliers in Japan, including display makers Sharp Corp and Japan
Display Inc, as they bolster their offerings of high-specification
features to compete with global brands.
Xiaomi lists Sharp as a supplier and said it had provided the
displays for the tablet. ($1 = 6.2289 Chinese Yuan)
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Writing by Matthew Miller; Editing by
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.