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Xiaomi laptop marks bold debut

Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has unveiled its first-ever laptop computer line in the face of PC sales continuing to drop globally.

Taking on PC leaders such as Apple and Lenovo, the Xiaomi laptop has a strategy of high-end specification and affordable pricing that extends to its new ultra-slim laptop, the Mi Notebook Air.

The 12.5in Mi Notebook Air starts at 3499 yuan (US$526) and comes with a 128GB solid-state drive, Intel M3 processor and 4GB RAM. Its flagship 13.3in model is priced from 4999 yuan, with expandable storage and an Intel i5 processor.

Xiaomi’s says both models are slimmer and lighter than Apple’s MacBook Air notebook, and runs on Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

“Consumers want a high-performance laptop that is also slim and light, but there is no such product in the market,” says CEO Lei Jun – until next week, when the new Xiaomi laptops will go on sale in the company’s online stores.
Lei says many customers have urged Xiaomi to produce laptops.

Research firm IDC last month revised its forecast for the global PC market, estimating that shipments could decline 7.3 per cent compared with last year, about 2 per cent lower than it originally expected.

To tie in the laptop with Xiaomi’s expanding ecosystem of smart devices, its smartphone users will be able to synchronise data from their devices to the Mi Notebook Air. Users can also unlock their laptops with the Mi Band 2, a wearable fitness tracker the company launched this year.

Xiaomi has also unveiled a new handset, the Redmi Pro, which will cost upward of 1499 yuan. The company’s first handset with dual-cameras, it goes on sale tomorrow.

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