By spinning off the Redmi lineup, Xiaomi is finally turning into a lifestyle brand

Xiaomi is known around the world primarily for its phones, but the brand has plenty more to offer. For several years now, Xiaomi has teamed up or invested in Chinese startups to launch products like robot vacuums, mechanical keyboards, smart shoes, fitness trackers, and an entire ecosystem of smart home products, including a 360-degree security camera.

The unifying theme across its diverse portfolio of products is affordability. The Mi Robot vacuum offers the same motor as the Roomba 980 for less than half the cost, the Mi Band 3 is the best fitness tracker for under $100, and the Yeelight LED bulb undercuts Philips Hue by a significant margin. Oh, and Xiaomi's TVs aren't all that bad either. It's this affordability that has allowed Xiaomi to amass customers in droves in China, and its focus on a broad range of categories has turned it into a lifestyle brand in its home market.

We're now seeing this strategy take full effect in global markets. Earlier this year, Xiaomi announced that it was spinning off the Redmi series into its own sub-brand, with the devices now marketed as Redmi by Xiaomi. That's a huge move considering the Redmi name is synonymous with Xiaomi in countries like India, where the company is the largest phone manufacturer.

Xiaomi has more freedom to enter new categories, and it is doing exactly that.

Branching off the Redmi series does have some advantages — Xiaomi now has more freedom to enter new categories and not be seen as just a phone brand. Furthermore, the vast success of the Redmi series has pigeonholed Xiaomi into being perceived as a budget brand, and the change allows Xiaomi to introduce more aspirational devices under the Mi label.

Xiaomi has been building on that premise for a while now — it introduced its Mi TV range in the country last February, and has steadily rolled out lifestyle and smart home products — including backpacks, a travel pillow, pollution mask, security camera, and even luggage — over the last 12 months.

More recently, the company has rolled out its Mi Soundbar in India, offering Bluetooth, optical, and S/PDIF connectivity for just ₹4,999 ($70). The soundbar signifies Xiaomi's first major push into the audio segment in India, and like the TVs, it is undercutting every other player in the market today. The Xiaomi name on its own now carries such interest that the person delivering the Mi Soundbar to my home wanted to know where he can pick it up.

It took Xiaomi several years to build this level of brand cachet. By reinforcing the notion of affordability, Xiaomi now has a unique advantage whenever it enters a new category. And this translates over to sales as well — the brand has managed to sell over 1 million TVs in India in under a year, a sizeable achievement. The Mi Soundbar should follow in a similar vein, and Xiaomi is set to follow it up with a slew of lifestyle products that will be introduced over the course of the year in India.

Xiaomi doesn't sell phones in the U.S., but there are a lot of other products on offer.

Another common theme across all of Xiaomi's products is minimalist design. The brand has done a magnificent job creating a unified design aesthetic, with everything from the projector to the soundbar, air purifier, and even the vacuum sharing the same basic design language. Or to put it another way, Xiaomi has managed to create a range of products that look premium but without the bloated price tag.

While the brand is focusing its attention on the Indian market, it is making huge strides in other regions as well. Xiaomi started selling phones in the UK at the end of last year, with the Mi 8 Pro going up against the likes of OnePlus and Honor in the country.

Xiaomi is taking a different strategy in the U.S. The brand doesn't sell its phones in the U.S. (yet), but it offers a variety of products from its smart home and outdoor categories. The Mi Electric Scooter is available in the country for $479, the 360-degree camera for $280, the Yeelight smart LED bulb for $19, and even a $14 smart plug. Best of all, the short-throw Mi Laser Projector is on sale for $1,700. The projector is an incredible product that fully justifies its price tag, and is one of the best products Xiaomi makes right now.

While phones continue to drive growth and revenue, it's clear that Xiaomi wants to be known as the brand that sells everything — the IKEA of electronics as it were. If its portfolio in China is any indication, it is well on its way to doing just that.

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