Update: Xiaomi global vice president Hugo Barra has confirmed that Manu Kumar Jain has joined as Xiaomi’s India GM.
Earlier (June 10): Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has hired Manu Kumar Jain, co-founder of Jabong to head its operations in India, reports BGR India citing multiple sources. We’ve written to Manu Jain for a confirmation and will update once we get a response.
Manu Jain seems to be the first big hire in line with Xiaomi’s plans to launch in India. Earlier in March this year, Xiaomi global vice president and former Google VP Hugo Barra had mentioned that they would be setting up an office and partner with telcos to sell its devices. They would also be selling its devices here through its website.
Note that the company makes most of its money from its online ecosystem, which according to Barra, allows Xiaomi to maintain its strategy of selling its smartphones at a price that is almost close to cost. However he says that the company is not targeting low end of the market when its products are released in India.
While we had initially heard that Xiaomi will be launching in India in March this year, it was later indicated that Xiaomi will be launching in India only after Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Citing sources, BGR India suggests that the launch has now been delayed to September – October this year, possibly in time for the Diwali period.
Jain had earlier quit Jabong in January this year to reportedly start his own venture Gynjer which dealt with designing, developing and selling wearable smart devices like smartwatches and smart glasses. Jain has also previously worked with DINK Couple, Mckinsey & Company and Genpact’s Headstrong.
In August last year, Xiaomi was already China’s third-largest e-commerce company, with more than $3.2 million in revenue per month. Xiaomi had announced annual sales of $4.5 billion for 2013 and is valued at over $10 billion. The company had sold 18.7 million smartphones in 2013, up 160% year-on-year and above its initial target of 15 million devices. In December alone, the company sold 3.23 million smartphones and intends to sell 40 million devices this year.
In India, the company will compete against Micromax, Karbonn and Lava in the low end of mobile devices market; Motorola, Lenovo, Gionee and Nokia in the mid-range and against Samsung, Sony, LG and Apple in the high-end.