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Xiaomi makes its first moves to sell its phones in Africa

The world's fifth-largest smartphone maker will sell its Redmi 2 and Mi 4 in Africa through a distribution partner.


Xiaomi will work with the Mobile In Africa Group to sell its Redmi 2 phone.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Fresh from its June launch in Brazil, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is hoping to make a splash in a totally new continent -- Africa.

This time, however, Xiaomi won't be on its own. It will work with the Mobile in Africa Group to sell two of its smartphones in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

The budget-friendly Redmi 2 and the slightly higher-end Mi 4 phones will go on sale in the middle of November.

"We see Africa as the next frontier for smartphone growth," said Xiaomi's global strategy director, Raymond Tian, in a statement. "And we are excited to be partnering with MIA Group to offer consumers in these three countries our high-quality smartphones at amazing prices."

For the first time in the company's history, Xiaomi won't directly sell its phones to consumers. Instead, the MIA Group will handle sales, marketing and customer support.

Valued at $45 billion, Xiaomi has gone from strength to strength. It's now the world's fifth-largest smartphone maker and it overtook Apple in the Chinese smartphone market earlier this year. However, it's since lost that position to Chinese rival Huawei.

Xiaomi will need to succeed in the African market to hit its 100 million smartphone sales target for 2015. In the first half of 2015, it sold just under 35 million ​phones. However, China's upcoming Black Friday equivalent, Singles Day on November 11, will likely help inch it closer to its sales target.