Xiaomi announced its bestselling Redmi smartphone series will operate as an independent sub-brand as the company moves to accelerate its global expansion.

Lu Weibing, the former president of Gionee (pictured, right), joined as GM of the Redmi brand.

Lei Jun, Xiaomi founder and CEO (pictured, left), said Lu’s experience will assist Redmi in penetrating overseas markets faster and capture opportunities for further development and expansion. He noted Redmi will continue to focus on R&D of “extremely cost-effective smartphones with superior quality, and accelerate the pace of global expansion”.

Lu said that by focusing on the e-commerce market and targeting internet users, Redmi will continue to pursue the “ultimate price-performance ratio”.

The company said as of 30 September 2018 it sold a total of 278 million Redmi series smartphones globally, making it the top seller.

Android Authority said the move was rather interesting and could mean more independence for the division’s device and business strategy, while still taking advantage of Xiaomi’s supply chain and research.

Huawei, the second-largest smartphone maker in the world, introduced the Honor sub-brand in 2013, a trend others have followed. In August Xiaomi announced the global rollout of the first smartphone from its Poco smartphone brand, shortly after the device was unveiled in India.

Latest Note
To mark the shift, Redmi released the latest iteration of its Note series, the Redmi Note 7, featuring a 48MP rear camera; Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC; and a 4000mAh battery.

It is also comes with an 18-month warranty, which the company claims is the first for a smartphone in China.

The Note 7, which launches in China on 15 January, comes in gold, blue and black, with a 32GB version retailing for CNY999 ($148).

At a time of rising trade tension between the US and China, Lei said in an interview in Beijing that Europe is its main focus for international expansion this year, South China Morning Post reported.

Lei also said today (11 January) the device maker will invest CNY10 billion in artificial intelligence and IoT initatives over the next five years.