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Xiaomi may bring electric bikes, payments bank to India


Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has made a filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in India which offers an insight into its roadmap for expansion in India which includes plans to sell electric vehicles, laptops and set up a payments bank. In a statement to Medianama, a Xiaomi spokesperson said, “I would like to clarify that the regulatory filings from Xiaomi only indicate a change in the objects clause of Xiaomi’s memorandum of association to detail any product which Xiaomi might choose to launch and sell in India in the future. This is not an application for a license or a permission to introduce these product lines.”

This was first reported by the Economic Times. The publication said that the Beijing-based company said it can potentially sell “all types of vehicles for transport, conveyance and other transport equipment, whether based on electricity or any other motive or mechanical power, including the components, spare parts.”

Entry into payments banks

The filings also highlight the company’s interest in the financial services sector. ET reports, the company said it wants “to carry on the business of nonbanking financial companies, payments bank, leasing and financing, other financial services, payment gateway and settlement systems operators, mobile virtual network operator”.

In the consumer electronics space, the company is reportedly looking to expand its portfolio and sell laptops, video game consoles, computer accessories and network equipment. It also wants to manufacture and sell merchandise like t-shirts, toys, and backpacks.

Shashi adds: Note that Paytm and ICICI Banks have started offering short-term credit to users. This could beginning of how payments banks in the country will start offering loans to customers. Remember, payments bank are not allowed to give out loans from their own books but are allowed to partner with other financial institutions to source loans for them. As such, products on Paytm’s e-commerce arm Paytm Mall could be easily be offered on credit to customers. Xiaomi may want to follow a similar approach if they get a payments bank licence.

However, recent reports had stated that four functional payment banks in the country had demand deposits of Rs 236.45 crore at the end of September this year. Demand deposits refer to money in savings and current accounts. Airtel Payments Bank had the highest number of deposits with Rs 224.03 crore growing 26% from Rs 177.05 crore in August. The report added that Fino held Rs 6.8 crore while Paytm Payments Bank held deposits of Rs 3.5 crore as on September 30.

Bringing in EVs and IoT devices

In China, Xiaomi already sells foldable electric bikes and mini self-balancing scooters. It also sells a multitude of consumer electronic products like laptops, smart TVs, smart lighting solutions and health and fitness monitors that are yet to launch in India.

In recent years, the company has made an aggressive push for the smart-home/internet-of-things space with washing machines, refrigerator, water purifiers and air conditioners. The ET report adds that Xiaomi Technology India has accordingly amended its memorandum of association for doing business in these categories. The company has said in the filing that it may sell these products through both online and offline channels in India.

IPO plans

According to media reports from earlier this month, the company is said to be in talks with investment banks about a possible initial public offering and seeking a valuation of at least $50 billion.

“We want to transplant China’s business ideas into other countries,” company founder and CEO Lei Jun said at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen earlier this month, without commenting on an IPO. “In India, we’ve created a miracle. After only three years, we’ve become number one.”

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