Chinese handset maker Xiaomi today unveiled its first handset, Mi 3, for the fiercely competitive Indian smartphone market, priced at Rs 14,999.
Often touted as the Apple of China, the firm's first offering will be available for pre-booking from next week.
Xiaomi said on its website today that Mi 3 will be available for pre-booking in India from July 15.
Its India Facebook page said: "Mi fans, we're super excited to announce this. The 1st Mi phone which we will be launching in India is... Mi 3."
Xiaomi had launched its official website in India in June and is expected to bring Mi 3 in partnership with Flipkart, who will sell the handset through its platform.
During the same month, Xiaomi had also roped in Jabong co-founder Manu Kumar Jain to head its operations in India.
Powered by its customised Android user interface (UI), MIUI V5, the Mi 3 has a 5-inch Full HD 1080p LCD touch display and sports Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz processor, Adreno 330 450 MHz GPU, 2 GB RAM, and eMMC 4.5 flash memory of 16 GB.
The smartphone has a 13 megapixels rear camera and a 2 MP front camera with both supporting HD video recording and has a 3050mAh lithium-ion battery.
Increasingly, many handset makers like Motorola and Alcatel are partnering with e-commerce firms to launch their devices exclusively.
While Motorola has launched its Moto G, Moto X and Moto E with Flipkart, Celkon had launched its Android Kitkat-powered Campus A35K exclusively with Snapdeal.
Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun, the Beijing-headquartered firm has become one of China's biggest electronics companies that designs, develops and sells smartphones, mobile apps and other such consumer items.
According to the company's website, it has already sold over 17 million handsets in China. Its portfolio includes devices like Mi 3, Redmi (Singapore dollar 169), Mi Wi-Fi and Mi Box, among others. It launched its products in Singapore in February this year.
Other Chinese firms selling its handsets in India include Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Gionee and Oppo, the latest entrant.
Indian smartphone market is witnessing strong competition between local and international players, all vying to grab a share of the multi-billion dollar market.
According to IDC, smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn.
In the first quarter of 2014, 17.59 million smartphones were shipped into India as compared to 6.14 million in the same period of 2013.
Samsung was the market leader in the category with 35 per cent market share in Q1, followed by Micromax (15 per cent), Karbonn (10 per cent), LAVA (6 per cent) and Nokia (4 per cent).
Affordable smartphones, especially those priced in the sub-USD 200 category (Rs 12,000), are doing well in the Indian market.