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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has global ambitions.

The company today revealed plans to bring its “Redmi” Android smartphone to Singapore on February 21. The Redmi (it’s called Hongmi in other regions) marks Xiaomi’s first product launch outside Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Xiaomi is known for making low-cost handsets, and the Redmi is its cheapest: It’ll cost just S$169 (or around $133 USD) in Singapore. But it has some impressive specs despite the price tag, with a quad-core processor, a 4.2-inch 720p display, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a swappable 2,000mAh battery.

Xiaomi has grown rapidly since its launch three years ago. It sold 18.7 million phones last year, more than double its 2012 sales.

The company hopes to boost its sales again this year with a big push into international markets. In late August, it named Hugo Barra, Google’s former Android vice president, the head of Xiaomi Global.

Singapore is a logical first stop due to its exceptionally high mobile penetration rate: 87 percent, according to Nielsen. For contrast, Nielsen pegs mobile penetration at 71 percent in China and 60 percent here in the U.S.

Chinese tech entrepreneur Lei Jun founded Xiaomi in April 2010. He’s sometimes referred to as the “Steve Jobs of China,” but he says his company is more like Google or Amazon.


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