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Xiaomi moves to selling phones offline without registration

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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has started selling its flagship phones at The Mobile Store’s brick and mortar shops, reports ET Tech. The manufacturer started by offering some Mi4 and Redmi Note 4G smartphones through The Mobile store in the Delhi NCR region on Saturday.

The devices will cost the same as the price offered by online retailer Flipkart, Rs 19,999 and Rs 9,999 for the Mi 4 and Redmi Note 4G respectively. There is no word yet on when Xiaomi will expand this partnership to other cities or partner with other offline retailers. As of now, The Mobile Store claims to have over 800 outlets across 150 cities, although only 55 stores in Delhi NCR region are currently covered through this initiative.

Interestingly, Xiaomi had made its low-cost phablet RedMi Note available offline through approximately 100 flagship Airtel stores in November, although buyers had to register online before picking up the device from these stores. The 4G variant, which supports both 2300MHz and 1800MHz bands, was launched by Xiaomi in August last year.

In November last year, when offline retail outlets in India refused to sell Android One handsets, we had mentioned that in the case of Xiaomi, an online-only model made sense, as they were focusing on establishing brand identity and not sales. The company had also met large demand and had trouble keeping up with the supply, with only around one-in-six registrants managing to get its device during the first sale. With this move, it seems like Xiaomi is looking to increase the distribution of its phones. Either the company is over its supply woes, or online demand has straggled, with the company looking for other means to develop sources of revenue.

Online store:  Note, Xiaomi also launched its online store in India earlier this month. Currently, only phone accessories such as mobile cases and headphones are available for sale. The site claims it will deliver all products within 5-7 business days. The company will charge a Rs 50 shipping fee for orders below Rs 500 and nothing for orders above Rs 500. Thus far, all Xiaomi phones and accessories were sold through it’s online sales partner Flipkart.

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Xiaomi’s VP-International Hugo Barra had confirmed that the company was working towards launching its own e-commerce store in India in November last year, and Xiaomi’s India Head Manu Jain had told PTI in January this year that that the process would take “anywhere between three to nine months.”

Device launches: Xiaomi launched two new Android devices in India this month, the Redmi 2 smartphone and the MiPad. With this launch, Xiaomi has introduced a total of six devices in India. The company had previously launched its high-end Mi4 handset priced at Rs 19,999 in January this year after having launched Mi3, Redmi 1S and Redmi Note (and Note 4G) last year. Xiaomi’s vice president of international operations Hugo Barra had earlier said that India is Xiaomi’s second largest and the fastest growing market after China.

Other developments:

In December last year, Xiaomi’s India head Manu Kumar Jain had claimed that they had sold one million handsets in India since its launch in July. The company had also revealed plans to start making its smartphones in India as it continued to struggle to match consumer demand. At the time, Barra had told Bloomberg that production in India will likely begin in a year or two. The same month, Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion from a series of investors including DST Global, Singapore’s GIC, Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, Hopu Fund, and All-Stars Investment among others at a valuation of $45 billion.

Image source: Xiaomi

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