Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is breaking into the sports camera industry with a low-cost camera retailing at only RMB399 (US$63). The GoPro-style gadget is also offered in a RMB499 version which includes an accompanying selfie stick.

Dubbed YiCamera (our translation), the new product is made by Ants, or Xiaoyi, a Dropcam-like video monitoring camera maker which is a major member of Xiaomi’s ambitious hardware plan.

The camera features an Ambarella A7LS processor and Sony 16MP Exmor R BSI CMOS photo sensor that works under diverse types of lighting. Users can shoot with various video resolutions (1080p/60fp, 720p/120fps, 240p/480fps) under different scenarios. The f/2.8 aperture lens capture 155-degree wide angle views.


The new snapper supports various shooting mode, including 0.5-60 second time delay, 3-15 second time lapse photography, and up to 7 images per second of continuous shooting. Designed for adventure-buffs, the company also released a waterproof case for the gadget which supports waterproof depths of up to 40m.

Available in grass green and white versions, YiCamera supports WiFi and Bluetooth and has an app for video editing and sharing. It is on sale now on Xiaomi’s website, JD and Tmall.

YiCamera’s price is obviously the clincher when compared to its rivals. GoPro is expanding into China this year so as to reduce its reliance on the US market. GoPro 3+ Silver, on a par with YiCamera in its specifications, costs US$299.99. Xiaomi’s entry into the action camera arena will pose a formidable challenge to GoPro in China.


The rising hardware craze has drawn a spate of Chinese companies to enter the action camera industry. Shenzhen-based drone maker Dji Innovations is planning to introduce hardware with advanced camera features and to build drones with embedded cameras, while GoPro is poised to launch consumer drones to supplement its action camera lineup.

Ezviz, an internet smart video surveillance brand backed by Chinese video monitoring solution provider Hikvision Digital, released an activity camera last year. VIDIT, a similar product developed by a Chinese startup team, is also entering this market.

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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