Xiaomi launches $13 fitness band

Global Business

Chinese Smartphone maker Xiao-mi has started selling an interactive wristband called the Mi Band.

The device can measure one’s heart rate and monitor sleep patterns. It’s not the first such device to hit the market, but so far, it’s the cheapest.

Xiaomi launches $13 fitness band

Xiaomi launches $13 fitness band

Chinese Smartphone maker Xiao-mi has started selling an interactive wristband called the Mi Band. The device can measure one's heart rate and monitor sleep patterns. It's not the first such device to hit the market, but so far, it's the cheapest.

The Mi Band went on sale on Monday, and its official store on Tmall had sold out its entire stock of 455 wristbands within an hour. When Xiaomi announced the product last month, company founder Lei Jun said despite its low price, its quality is guaranteed. The band can monitor users’ exercise data and feed it back to the user’s Xiaomi smartphone via bluetooth.

Similar products in the market, however, are not cheap. Samsung’s Gear Fit sells for around 1,000 yuan and Jawbone’s UP24 wristband costs 1,500 yuan ($163). So some people are surprised at Xiaomi’s price of just 79 yuan ($13).

One expert in the industry says that Xiaomi’s strategy isn’t just about money.

“Its profit margin is very low. Its main target isn’t to get money from the band, it is to catch more users. I think it hopes to strengthen its current user base with this product. And via this the company, it can get more data from its users and develop its further products based on that,” said Professor Liu Erwu with the Electronics and Info Engineering Department at Tongji University.

Domestic brand Bong launched its latest wristband just a few days after Xiaomi announced the price of the Mi Band last month. The price of Bong’s wristband dropped from 690 yuan ($122) for the first generation to 99 yuan $16). Liu says that other brands’ intelligent bands may have some bubbles in their prices, but that is necessary for small companies to survive in the market.

“After Xiaomi’s product, other companies that want to compete in this environment, I think they will cut their price, and that will, in turn, affect their quality. This will also undermine their ability to innovate,” said Erwu.

However, Liu says that he doesn’t think Xiaomi’s low-price strategy will influence big foreign companies, because they have different target consumers. Foreign brands are high-end products, while Xiaomi wants to keep its current customers while expanding its user base. Liu adds that most of the high-end foreign wristbands have more comprehensive databases and analysis platforms than local ones, so they can charge more.