Chinese tech major Xiaomi on Wednesday said it expects to have 10,000 retail stores in India and 50% of its business to come from the offline route by the end of this year. Xiaomi, which had started its India journey as an online-only brand in 2014, is also launching a new retail format 'Mi Studio' in India as it competes for head-on with rival Samsung. "About two years ago, we realised that while we had a 50% share in online sales, our offline presence was negligible. That's when we started our offline expansion," Xiaomi Vice-President and MD Manu Jain told reporters of PTI at the launch event.
The company now has well over 6,000 outlets across three formats - Mi Homes (experiential stores -75 in number), Mi Preferred Partners (retail stores) and Mi Stores (in smaller towns). "We aim to open over 10,000 retail stores across these four offline channels by the end of the year 2019. About 50% of our smartphone sales are expected to come from the offline market by the end of this year," Jain said.
As per research firm IDC, Xiaomi was ahead of rival Samsung with a 28.9% share of the smartphone shipment volume in the December 2018 quarter. Samsung had 18.7% share in the same quarter that saw a total shipment of 36.3 million units.
Samsung has a stronghold in the offline market. Xiaomi is hopeful of maintaining its lead in India, given its aggressive stance on offline expansion. A few Mi Homes are owned by Xiaomi and franchise-operated, but the rest are under the franchise-owned and operated model. Mi Studios will be following the latter route.
"Mi Studios aim to offer premium brand experience in 50 top cities...This format is an optimised version of Mi Homes replicating the same design and displaying modern minimalist interiors," Jain said.
He added that Xiaomi is working towards 200 Mi Studios by the end of 2019. While Jain declined to comment on investments being made for the offline expansion, he said Xiaomi is committed to the Indian market and is pumping in funds across manufacturing, product development and the startup ecosystem in the country.
The first two Mi Studios have been set up in Bengaluru and Mumbai, with an average size of 400-600 sq ft. Talking about Mi Stores, Jain said the company has set up 1,000 such points.
With the 1,000 Mi Stores, Xiaomi India has been able to generate employment for over 2,000 people, he added. Last year, Xiaomi had said it would set up 5,000 Mi Stores across rural India by the end of 2019, a move that is expected to generate over 15,000 jobs.
The company also launched its Redmi Y3 in India, priced at Rs 9,999 onwards. The handset - which hits the market from April 30 - features 6.26-inch display, 12MP+2MP rear and 32MP front camera, and 4,000mAh battery.
The 3GB RAM/32 GB internal memory version will be available for Rs 9,999, while the 4GB RAM/64GB memory will be available for Rs 11,999.
Xiaomi also unveiled its Redmi 7 for Rs 7,999 onwards. The company also launched a smart bulb - Mi LED Smart Bulb - that will be available through crowdfunding on Xiaomi's website.