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Xiaomi launches first smartwatch as handset demand shrinks

Tech group touts features rivaling Apple Watch at less than half the price

Xiaomi's Chairman and CEO Lei Jun introduces the company's new smartwatch Tuesday in Beijing. (Photo by Shunsuke Tabeta)

BEIJING -- Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone heavyweight, will release its first smartwatch next week, the company said Tuesday, as it diversifies beyond the shrinking domestic mobile market.

The smartwatch, which hits shelves Monday, is capable of syncing up with smartphones, and it will be equipped with its own phone number to make voice calls independently. Mobile payment and ride-hailing apps can be installed in the device.

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