It looks like Chinese smartphone company XiaoMi will start selling its phones in India very soon. It has set up an official MIUI website for India and is asking people to show support by liking its Facebook page and spreading the word about the website. Xiaomi is also organising a fan meet on June 29 in Mumbai and several officials from the company are expected to participate. The company had hired co-founder of Jabong Manu Kumar Jain, to head its operations in India, earlier this month.
Former Google VP and Xiaomi CEO Hugo Barra had said earlier this year that the company will start its services in India after launching in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. It’s worth noting that the company has set up similar websites for Malaysia and Philippines, but it hasn’t started selling its devices in either of these markets from the looks of it.
It is currently offering Mi3 in both these markets and it might follow the same strategy in India as well. However, everyone is expecting the company to launch the cheaper RedMi in India first. Xiaomi’s devices are available in India unofficially on e-commerce websites like eBay, with Mi3 costing a little under Rs 25,000 and RedMi priced at a little under Rs 13,000.
Barra had visited India in March this year and around the same time the company had made a post on its forum asking for volunteers to help translate its MIUI ROM into Hindi. Barra had also stated that it will set up an office in India and partner with telcos to offer its devices. It will also sell its devices here directly through its website. According to BGR India, the company is also looking to sell its devices through third-party e-commerce services such as Flipkart, after the success of Motorola.
Xiaomi 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.
In August last year, Xiaomi was already China’s third-largest e-commerce company, with more than $3.2 million in revenue per month. The company expects revenue to reach $21 million-$24 million per month this year. The company’s co-founder Lei Jun had said earlier this year than the company intends to sell 40 million devices this year. 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.
In India the company will compete against devices by Micromax, Karbonn and Lava in the low end; Motorola, Lenovo, Gionee and Nokia in the mid-range and against Samsung, Sony, LG and Apple in the high-end. In terms of shipments Samsung is the biggest player in India with 43.2% marketshare, followed by Micromax with 17.5% and Karbonn with 5.2%. In the first quarter of 2014, around 14.5 million smartphones were shipped in India, registering a 219.4% growth year-on-year (YoY) and a 1.9% growth from the previous quarter.