Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi will launch its first smartphone, the Mi3, in India for Rs 14,999 from July 15th 2014. This development was reported by BGR India. The site currently lists only the 16GB version of the Mi3 smartphone. It’s not clear where the company plans to roll out other variants in the country.
It’s also not clear whether Xiaomi plans to sell its phones on its own site or has tied up with third party e-commerce players like Flipkart for selling these devices. There were earlier reports of Xiaomi tying up exclusively with Flipkart to sell its devices in the Indian market.
What’s really interesting here is the aggressive pricing by Xiaomi India for its Mi3 smartphone. It’s worth noting that Xiaomi Mi3 was earlier available unofficially on e-commerce marketplaces like eBay India for Rs 25,000. That being said, In China and Philippines, the 16GB version retails at $240 (around Rs 14,380).
Remember that Xiaomi makes most of its money from its online paid services, which allows the company to maintain its strategy of selling its smartphones at a price that is almost close to cost. Xiaomi global vice president Hugo Barra however had earlier mentioned that they wouldn’t be targeting the low-end handset market in the country. Last month, Jabong co-founder Manu Kumar Jain had also joined Xiaomi as its India GM.
In India, Xiaomi will be competing with Motorola which somewhat changed the game for handset makers in India, by aggressively pricing Moto G and Moto E. This led to competing OEMs like Micromax, Lava and Karbonn launch similar low-cost offerings over the past few months. Another change is expected when Micromax, Spice and Karbonn launches its Android one smartphones later this year.
The biggest loser in this battle would probably be Samsung, which is still the largest smartphone player in India but is reportedly struggling to maintain its growth in the mid-range and high-end smartphone segment. In a sense, it is slowly becoming the new Nokia.
Nikhil adds: The price is great, at Rs 14,999, especially given that I had purchased the 16GB Mi2S last year in China for the equivalent of Rs 19000. Having used a 16GB Mi2S for well over a year, I can tell you that that isn’t quite enough space, especially given the uninstall-able MIUI apps that Xiaomi embeds on the phone; on my phone, they’re all in Chinese, which makes them all the more useless (for me). For the price, it’s a great buy, but keep in mind that it doesn’t allow you to use an external SD card. I would wait for the 32 GB version.