Manu Kumar Jain, Global Vice President and Xiaomi India Managing Director, has announced that its sub-brand Poco will now function as an independent brand. While the details of what comes next is still scarce, the announcement could be a positive news for the company’s ‘fans’. This is owing to an almost similar level of popularity that Poco enjoys in the country. According to the company, Poco will run independently of Xiaomi with its own team and go to market strategy after this restructuring.
Poco started as a sub-brand of Xiaomi in 2018 with a small team. Its first smartphone, the Poco F1, was 'incredibly successful' and remains an 'extremely popular phone till date'. 'What started as a sub-brand in Poco has now grown into a new identity in a short span of time. We feel the time is right to let Poco operate on its own now, which is why we’re excited to announce that Poco will spin off as an independent brand. Join me in wishing the POCO team the best!,' Manu Jain, Xiaomi Vice President and Xiaomi India Managing Director, said in a statement.
Now, let's see how this announcement could affect your decision making while purchasing a new phone.
Before we talk about what customers could gain, let’s just talk about the brand itself. As mentioned, Poco was introduced in 2018, and Poco F1 was the brand’s first device. At that time, Poco's head of product Jai Mani was given the credit of the brand and he was seen as an important cog in successfully bringing the device to market. The USP of the device was premium-level specs in an affordable package.
If we analyse the strategy, we’d notice that Poco used the same tactics that OnePlus used when it debuted in India. Some of you may remember that the OnePlus One was priced around Rs 20,000 and it packed high-end hardware. While OnePlus has now grown into a more mature brand, it still undercuts the iPhones, Galaxy S and Note Series and Google Pixel line-up of devices.
Excited to share: #POCO will now be an independent brand!— Manu Kumar Jain (@manukumarjain) January 17, 2020
What started as a sub-brand within Xiaomi, has grown into its own identity. POCO F1 was an incredibly popular phone. We feel the time is right to let POCO operate on its own.
Join me in wishing @IndiaPOCO all the best.
Poco might have used the same strategy -- launch a smartphone at a highly competitive price with only the hardware that matters to people the most, that is, big RAM and flagship processor processor. There was no wireless charging, NFC, a gorgeous display or a strikingly different design. In other words, it prioritised what’s under the hood. Adding to that was the support of Xiaomi’s supply chain, and infrastructure which helped it keep down the R&D costs for the Poco F1.
With independent operations, Poco will have a different team that will dedicate its efforts in creating a different experience altogether. We may see a more stable UI as compared to the previous smartphone, and this UI may also be different from the MIUI that comes pre-installed on Redmi devices. A section of people have been demanding Android One/stock Android in the Poco smartphones, but nothing of that sort is confirmed.
If the company still focuses on the areas that it focussed during the development of Poco F1, it might become a hit in the Indian market. The Poco F1 became one of the most loved phones soon after it was launched as it had all the essentials that an Indian consumer needs. With this, the rumoured Poco F2 will be able to attract customers in the Rs 18,000 to Rs 25,000 market where the company arguably failed to gather the traction it thought it would get with the K20 Pro.
It seems that customers don’t want to spend upwards of Rs 20,000 on a Xiaomi device. People demanded the company to slash the price of the Redmi K20 smartphone, and a few opted to go with OnePlus (instead of K20 Pro) despite Xiaomi’s aggressive campaign against its Chinese counterpart. According to Counterpoint Research, OnePlus continued to be the best premium smartphone manufacturer in terms of shipment market share in Q3 in India.
With that being said, the Poco F2 could help the company capture another segment. It will not only challenge Samsung’s M series of smartphones, but also its direct competitor Realme, and may also dent the sales of OnePlus smartphones. Xiaomi has already showcased the Redmi K30 smartphone to a section of media, which could mean that customers may have to wait a little longer for Poco F2’s debut.