Xiaomi launches high-end phone, asks for 5 billion yuan loan

Business & Technology

Chinese mobile phone wunderkind Xiaomi launched the new Mi 10 series via livestream on Thursday. The Mi 10 series phones will support wireless 5G technology and are intended to compete with Apple and Huawei phones as Xiaomi migrates toward producing higher-end products.

It’s a challenging time to launch a new product: Xiaomi will face challenges delivering the new phones due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19 has also given Xiaomi another headache: bad press. Xiaomi reportedly applied for government relief loans meant to alleviate damage to businesses by COVID-19. Joining hundreds of Chinese firms that applied for the loan from a pool of 57.4 billion yuan ($8.2 billion) bank loans, Xiaomi asked for a 5 billion yuan ($710 million) loan according to a Global Times report (in Chinese).

China’s central bank confirmed that Xiaomi filed an application, but Beijing authorities claimed Xiaomi “did not meet requirements.” Xiaomi, however, denies it completed an application, according to the Global Times. The news brought Xiaomi significant criticism (in Chinese), with some accusing the tech giant of trying to suck up government resources at the cost of small and medium enterprises.

—Caroline Stetson