India: Xiamoi’s Second Home

By Yasmin Pascual Khalil The Chinese brand Xiaomi has recently made its debut into the Indian market with its last year’s mobile device ‘Mi 3’. The corporation goes by...

By Yasmin Pascual Khalil

The Chinese brand Xiaomi has recently made its debut into the Indian market with its last year’s mobile device ‘Mi 3’. The corporation goes by the nickname ‘Mi’ in India, rather than its actual brand name ‘Xiaomi’. The corporation made headlines out of nowhere outshining other mobile device manufacturers, like Micromax and Microsoft in an instant.

“We are coming into India with full force,” says Hugo Barra , Xiaomi Vice President . “It is the biggest market for us beyond China; it will someday be as big as China.” Xiaomi’s first-ever flash sale of Mi 3 devices selling at RS13999 (around £138) sold out in less than 40 minutes, making a great impression leading to several subsequent flash sales. Sales in the country have been driven by word-of-mouth, and Xiaomi had underestimated the demand at first. “We are changing the production plan at the factory (in China),” Manu Kumar Jain, the company’s India head said.

Demand for the product has been hitting a new high with several disappointed consumers because of the insufficient supply. Jain defended the sales approach by informing the public of the increase in the production line. “We are slowing down the production of some other handsets meant for other countries and ramping up the production of Mi 3 in India. Units dispatched to Thailand or the Philippines or India are all different. We are changing the production line according to the demand.”

Xiaomi is commencing sales in 10 new markets counting Brazil and Russia. The company has its own websites in Singapore and Taiwan but not in India due to the underdeveloped method for delivering packages and collecting payments. Xiaomi sells its devices via its online retail partner ‘Flipkart’, where people need to register first to express interest and then purchase on the sale day, which is based on first come first serve basis. What makes this special is ‘convenience’. The flat price includes shipping to the buyer’s doorstep with an option to pay cash on delivery (COD), a style that’s extremely trendy among the non-credit card group of customers in India.

In other news, ‘Mi 4’ is expected to be released by the end of this year along with a wristband tracker. Though more expensive, the device offers beefier internals, an advanced quality camera, and 4G network connectivity. “India is going to be the market where we really, really put our money where the mouth is.” Barra said, while announcing that Xiaomi will be setting up an R&D center in the country in efforts to make products more ‘localized’. “That’s going to be the first market where we really put a lot of effort into building truly localized services, including things we may not do for any other market because it only makes sense in India.”

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