Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone brand that entered India not more than two years ago, has established itself as one of the trusted brands in the country. However, the company has been trying to grow even bigger and expand its base in India. The company’s CEO Lei Jun said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the brand wants to leverage on the growing trend of online shopping in India, and that it wants to become the biggest smartphone brand in the country.
Talking to WSJ in an interview, Jei Jun stated that they are trying to prove that their business model works, but it needs to become the biggest brand in a country like India, which has a lot of consumers, so that they can monetise in an effective way. So, the company is trying to sell its smartphones and other devices to at least 10-20 percent of consumers in big countries like India and China to try and prove its business model.
We need to prove that our business model can be copied overseas successfully, at least in one market. We’ll need to try our best to be successful in a few emerging markets in a big way. We give ourselves three years to be the top three or even No.1 smartphone brand in India. Our business model isn’t about how many phones we sell. We can’t monetize unless we become a highly influential player in a country or a region. For example, we’re doing business in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but their population sizes are too small and it’s very hard to operate online businesses. The core of an online operation is population size. Therefore we want to sell to 10% to 20% of the population in India and other big countries. Then we’ll have the influence of a huge media organization and the opportunity to monetize in various ways.
– Lei Jun, CEO, Xiaomi
Other established brands like Samsung, Apple, HTC, Sony, Motorola, Nokia, and LG were’t taking Xiaomi seriously, and it suddenly became a big hit, thanks to their strategy of selling high-specced devices online exclusively at dirt cheap prices. However, the strategy won’t work now, as the competitors have become powerful. Moreover, more companies from Xiaomi’s homeland China such as OnePlus, Lenovo, and Huawei have entered the Indian market, and are following the same strategy. Hence, Xiaomi is trying to stand out by tying up with offline stores such as Bharti Airtel, The Mobile Store, and Redington India.
According to the recent numbers from IDC for Q2 2015, Samsung is still the king in the Indian smartphone market, while Micromax stands as the second biggest smartphone brand in India. So it will be hard for Xiaomi to become the biggest smartphone brand in India with the current strategy. As the hardware specifications based buying decisions will reach a saturation point, consumers will look for better features, and Xiaomi wants to deliver on that front. Hugo Barra stated that Xiaomi wants to integrate local services right inside its smartphone’s software, providing true advantage to its users.