The Rise of China’s Xiaomi in India

What’s common amongst revolutionary companies? The ability to make great products available at an affordable price. That’s what Xiaomi, the biggest smartphone vendor in the country, with 27 percent market share, did when they entered the Indian market three years ago.

The brand, which has today become the fifth biggest smartphone vendor in the world, joining a list that also has companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft, has sold 9.2 million smartphones in Q3 of 2017 and is today the fastest growing brand in India. 

It is also the only brand that has sold 90 percent smartphones online in India, a country where 70 percent phones are sold offline. However, that didn’t stop them from opening an offline store and earning the same craze. More than 5 crore worth of products were sold in just 12 hours at the company’s first brick and mortar store in Bengaluru.  

So, what Xiaomi did right to reach the scale and height it is today?

“Unique product,” Xiaomi India’s managing director Manu Kumar Jain said while spilling the beans about the company’s journey and success story in India at Business World’s Young Entrepreneurship Awards 2018.

Addressing the room full of attentive listeners, Kumar highlighted how vital ‘product’ has become in today’s digitally-smitten world. “While price and marketing play an important rule, you really can’t win if your product isn’t unique.  Try to innovate as much as possible with your product and give it at an amazing price. That’s a secret to Xiaomi’s success in India,” said Kumar.

Not just product, the company has also created its Mi Fan Community, which has more than 2 million active members who serve as brand ambassadors for the company. According to Kumar, a lot of Xiaomi features, from hardware and software perspective are built on feedback the company receives from the Mi fans. The company is also the flagbearer of ‘Make In India’ and currently 95 percent of their phones are made in India.

Even though Xiaomi is the number one smartphone brand in India, the company is yet to achieve its full potential.

“There are still 400 to 500 million people in India who use feature phones. Our aim is to bring them online. These are the people who will never use a computer, and the smartphone is the only way to digitize them,” concluded Kumar.    

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