xiaomi

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has ended its exclusive arrangement with ecommerce player Flipkart and will now be selling its handsets on both Snapdeal and Amazon in India, Xiaomi’s vice-president international Hugo Barra confirmed over Twitter.

This marks a shift in the company’s policy to sell phones as it is looking at new avenues to market its mobile devices in India. In June 2014, the company entered India with an exclusive deal with Flipkart to sell its devices. However to keep up with the demand, the company has been exploring other avenues of distribution. It is interesting to note that Xiaomi’s first sale on Flipkart had trouble keeping up with the demand, and only around one-in-six registrants managed to get their device.

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.

Most recently, Xiaomi started selling its flagship phones offline at The Mobile Store. 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. 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.

Xiaomi also launched its online store in India in March. 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.There’s still no word on when it will start selling phones on its online store.

Xiaomi’s 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.”

Our take

The end of the exclusive deal with Flipkart is certainly Amazon India’s and Snapdeal’s gain. But what remains to be seen is whether this will this be the end of selling mobile devices exclusively on e-commerce portals. Amazon India currently has an exclusive deal to sell the OnePlus One, but OnePlus has been running flash sales where it is selling its devices without the need for an invite and also mentions on its website that it will be running a sale every Tuesday where you can buy the phone without an invite.