TOKYO -- Low-cost Chinese smartphones that can take advantage of high-speed 5G communications have entered the Japanese market. Through SoftBank, Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced a model costing just under 20,000 yen ($183), excluding tax. Until now the iPhone has been the popular choice in Japan, thanks to its high quality, but the challenge from Chinese models could trigger a race to cut prices.
Xiaomi's Redmi Note 9T, sold exclusively through SoftBank in Japan, made its debut on Feb. 26 with claims that it had far and away the best cost performance when it comes to 5G. The device has a sticker price of 19,637 yen, or 21,600 yen with tax. If certain conditions are met, such as signing a new contract with SoftBank and applying for a student discount, the phone retails for just 1 yen.