Xiaomi’s drone to challenge market with $600 price tag

– Xiaomi Corp., the Chinese smartphone maker that challenged Apple Inc. with sleek designs and low prices, is planning to introduce its first drone at a price more than 20 percent below a comparable product from market leader SZ DJI Technology Co., Bloomberg reports citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The drone, made by FIMI Technology, will record high-resolution 4K video and cost about 4,000 yuan ($610), the person said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. That compares with $799 for the Phantom 3 4K device on DJI’s website.

Xiaomi shot to the top of China’s smartphone market by offering inexpensive devices packed with premium components, undercutting established rivals including Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. The price of its first entry into the nascent drone market suggests a similar strategy will be used to win customers for unmanned flying vehicles as smartphone growth slows.

“While making good-quality products, the price point has to be competitive as well,” Li Zhuoqi, a marketing director for Xiaomi, said without disclosing a price or sales estimates, Bloomberg notes.

“We have set a very thin margin for drones but the product line is set to be profitable.”

Xiaomi is joining the crowd of upstarts in the drone market, hoping to take share from Shenzhen-based DJI, the leading seller of consumer devices. Today drones are still largely novelty items, with sales expected to reach almost 4 million this year and forecast to rise to 16 million by 2020.