Xiaomi plans to launch its first laptop early next year, opening a new front in its battle against competitors Apple, Samsung and Lenovo.
The notebook may go on sale in the first quarter of 2016 to compete with such premium computers as Apple’s MacBook Air and Lenovo’s ThinkPad, Bloomberg reported.
Xiaomi has held talks with Samsung to supply memory chips and that initial agreement may extend to providing displays, the report said.
No other information on the device is available, most importantly the operating system it will run on. Xiaomi's smartphones use a heavily customised version of Android that the company calls MIUI.
At the recent Delhi launch of MIUI 7, Xiaomi’s global vice president Hugo Barra described the firm as a “software company first'.
Only five years after its founding, Xiaomi has vaulted into the global smartphone industry’s top ranks by providing premium components at mid-range prices. Xiaomi getting into the PC business risks bringing additional cost pressures against industry leaders Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Apple.
Supplying Xiaomi, the fourth-largest smartphone vendor, will boost Samsung’s components business as its tries to reduce reliance on providing for its own Galaxy devices.
Xiaomi is trying to carve a spot in a rapidly shrinking market. The International Data Corporation forecast in August an 8.7% slide in 2015 PC shipments and does not expect a return to growth till 2017.
The Chinese company co-founded by billionaire Lei Jun made its mark with cheaper smartphones sold online before moving into higher-end devices, buoyed by a thriving online community. Until now, its other hardware forays have been confined to sales of appliances and accessories such as earphones and TVs.
Xiaomi’s venture into PCs comes as growth in its core market slows down. Worldwide smartphone sales recorded their slowest growth rate since 2013 in the second quarter of 2015, according to Gartner. A rapidly maturing home market has prompted Xiaomi to look toward India, Brazil and other less-saturated smartphone arenas.