Xiaomi has big plans for India in 2018 according to statements made by Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi Global Vice-President, and India Head. In an interview with LiveMint, he explained how Xiaomi aims to launch at least 6 new smartphones in India, expand its non-smartphone portfolio, increase its pace of investments, increase the company’s offline presence and be more involved with software and internet startups in the country. 

Xiaomi India’s Smart TV campaign on Twitter

Non-smartphone portfolio

Xiaomi recently overtook Samsung as the top-selling smartphone company in India. Its success can be attributed to working in sync with the government and being a participant of the ‘Make in India’ initiative despite being a ‘Chinese’ player in the market. This is why they’re going to be expanding their smartphone portfolio why launching at least six smartphones in 2018 alone. 

Aside from smartphones, Xiaomi has already expanded to launching their smart TVs in India. 

The budget-friendly options with the Mi LED TV 4 priced at Rs 39 999 and two variants of the Mi TV 4A starting at Rs 13 999. They aim to grow beyond the paradigms of smartphones, fitness bands, power banks, smart air purifiers and smart TVs into categories such as smart scooters, weighing scales, smart cookers, smart shoes and smart cycles among others. Jain commented saying, “We don’t know at the moment whether those products will do well in India, firstly, and secondly, even if we were to launch them for India, how would we customize them for Indian conditions?”

Nonetheless, he added, “Our aim is to launch many more product categories in India — we already have 7-8 categories in India.” The focus of non-smartphone products could help the brand replicate its model of success outside of its home country.

Investing in Internet startups

Investments 

Manu Kumar commented that the Chinese company has always been an avid investor when it came to India’s growing start-up ecosystem. To this end, Xiaomi has plans to write multiple cheques in order to acquire stocks in software and Internet startups during 2018. It wants to invest early in spaces such as content, fin-tech, hyperlocal services, and manufacturing. 

In the long term, Xiaomi wants to increase its pace of investments by investing $1 billion specifically in Indian ventures. Though Jain did not expand on how these investments will be made, he did specify that Xiaomi’s target is to invest in nearly two dozen startups annually over the course of five years.

In 2017, the founder of Xiaomi, Lei Jun, had pledged to invest at least $1 billion spread out across a 100 Indian startups over the span of five years. Jun stated that the aim of this was to enable an ecosystem of apps specifically around the Xiaomi brand. 

Shunwie Capital, Xiaomi’s sister company, has invested in 10 internet startups in India so far. Its most recent investments have been in ShareChat and KrazyBee.

So far Xiaomi has made small investments in its Indian start-up assets, but wouldn’t mind pumping in more capital depending on the venture. Jain stated, “India is changing drastically. We really believe that India will become hugely digital in the next five years and we want to help promote that. We would want to increase the pace of investments to support these Indian companies. In India, we started with smaller investments…but if there’s a need, we can do bigger ticket sizes.”

Express delivery options from Mi.com

Offline Presence 

Xiaomi India plans to open up 100 exclusive stores across the nation, aiding in the company’s attempt to introduce new product categories and launching its non-smartphone business. So far, Xiaomi has 26 exclusive stores and a few hundred through franchise partners. 

Their strategy of offline expansion and flash sales online is one of the reasons behind Xiaomi attaining the top leading spot as India’s largest smartphone vendor with 25 percent market share. 

Just last week, Moto launched 25 new Moto Hubs in Kolkata. Even Samsung and Xiaomi locked horns last year over the management of offline campaigns with two leading retail chains. 

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