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Poco is now an independent brand. What does this mean for users?

Back in January, the Xiaomi India MD Manu Kumar Jain tweeted that Poco would be spinning off from the Xiaomi family to become an independent brand. Originally seen as a sub-brand within Xiaomi, Poco has just announced that it is now an independent brand—fresh off the launch of its new entry-level Poco M3.

In the statement, Poco talked about the 35 global markets that they have a presence in currently, along with a total number of six million Poco-branded phones sold in the global market. The company also looks to continue its assault on the “flagship” market, as well as the mid-range and entry-level markets—as evidenced by the current lineup of the Poco F2 Pro, Poco X3, and the newly-released Poco M3.

How will this affect users?

So, what does this mean for users? As we mentioned earlier, a similar announcement was made back in January 2020, before the company launched a number of new smartphones that weren’t simply rebadged Xiaomi phones. The new Poco M3, for instance, looks to be an original product from the company, while the mid-range Poco X3 NFC doesn’t appear to be a rebadged Mi phone either.

Does this mean that we’ve seen the end of rebadged Mi phones under the Poco brand? Perhaps. Or perhaps not.

At the beginning of 2019, Redmi announced similar news that it would be operating as an “independent brand”, although one of the reasons given for the move was to “accelerate Xiaomi’s global expansion progress”. However, in the (almost) two years since, nothing appears to be drastically different—at least, from the consumer’s point of view—beyond a new Redmi badge on the back of its phones.

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Additionally, Poco’s phones are still being sold in Malaysia via Xiaomi dealers and online channels. For example, official sets are sold on Shopee and Lazada, and you even get original Xiaomi chargers out of the box.

Would this change in the future, now that the brand is operating independently? I’m not sure about that—one of the main benefits to the sub-brand operating model is the ability to share Xiaomi’s considerable resources such as dealer networks and accessories. With Poco’s obvious value-for-money strategy, narrow margins certainly matter.

Plus, there is the issue of MIUI. As suggested by a commenter (@Jason Saw), another big question is: what will happen to MIUI? If Poco truly operates independently, they might have to come up with an OxygenOS-style alternative to MIUI—which might not be such a bad thing to detractors of Xiaomi’s Android skin.

We might, of course, begin to see the brand expand beyond smartphones. They didn’t mention anything, but with the increased popularity in AIoT products such as TWS headphones and smartwatches, it would seem to be a logical move.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see. How do you think Poco’s “independence” will affect you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article has been amended to include information on MIUI.


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