For the last seven years, Xiaomi has released products in two distinct product lines: Mi and Redmi. The Mi-branded phones were reserved for the mid-tier and high-end categories, while Redmi devices accounted for the budget segment. This strategy is changing going forward, as Xiaomi has confirmed that it is getting rid of the Mi branding, instead launching devices under the Xiaomi label.
The branding change has already gone into effect; the Xiaomi Mix 4 launched last month without any mention of Mi in the naming convention, unlike its predecessors. With the flagship 11T series slated to launch in the coming weeks, it is likely the devices will be called the Xiaomi 11T and 11T Pro.
A Xiaomi spokesperson confirmed the move in a statement to Android Central, noting that the change will "unify" Xiaomi's global presence:
At the outset, the move makes a lot of sense. Even though the Mi and Redmi product lines had a clear delineation in terms of positioning, Xiaomi wasn't able to break the perception of being a budget-focused brand with the Mi series. With the manufacturer increasingly focusing on true flagships with the likes of the Mi 11 Ultra and challenging the best Android phones in global markets, a branding change allows Xiaomi to better position its high-end products.
The updated logos suggest how this differentiation will play out. The Redmi brand will continue to be aimed at a younger audience and is focused on the budget segment, with the Xiaomi series set to offer products that form the "pinnacle" of technology:
What's particularly interesting is that this move will carry over to Xiaomi's ever-increasing ecosystem portfolio as well. Xiaomi sells over 2,000 products in China, with some branded under its own label and others under the Mijia brand. With more and more of these products being sold in global markets, the brand will rely on the same Xiaomi/Redmi categorization:
With the new naming convention, Xiaomi will be aiming to better differentiate its flagship phones, notebooks, and marquee ecosystem products from their Redmi counterparts. The Mi branding clearly failed to manage that, and it will be interesting to see if Xiaomi has better luck with the new convention.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.