Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi is finally going to sell its wares in brick and mortar stores in India. The company has tied up with The Mobile Store, where it will sell limited numbers of Mi 4 and Redmi Note 4G smartphones. The first run will include 55 stores in Delhi and NCR and the sales will begin from Today at Rs 19,999 and Rs 9,999, respectively, the same prices as that offered on online partner Flipkart.
“This will be the first time that we’re getting into offline trade in India,” said Manu Jain, head of India operations at Xiaomi. “In China, about 20-30% of total sales through come from telecom operators stores while the rest comes from our online store – Mi.com,” he added.
Xiaomi had recently tied up with Bharti Airtel to sell Red Mi Note 4G through the carrier’s 133 stores in areas where Airtel offers 4G services. Like Bharti Airtel’s stores, The Mobile Store shops will act as service centers where users will be able to get their phones repaired, the company’s chief executive Himanshu Chakrawarti said.
Its association with Flipkart will continue where it will sell all models through weekly flash sales. Xiaomi recently launched the Red Mi Note 2 for Rs 6,999, which will go on sale from March 31 on the popular e-commerce site.
India’s largest larger mobile phone retailer which has over 800 stores, will launch the phones in other cities, covering the top 300 stores across the country. The stores will have a live Mi Zone where customers will be able to look and feel the devices, and buy them on the spot, without waiting for the weekly flash sale.
Xiaomi’s Jain added that the company expected the offline route to be successful and they may even look at scaling up the brick and mortar stores, even as it continues to create its own retail store online.
Xiaomi is looking to set up Mi.com, a full-fledged e-commerce site, which will sell all of the company’s products including TVs, routers and Xiaomi goodies, for the Indian market. To take this forward, Xiaomi is exploring options including a model where Mi.com can be franchised out, Jain had told ET previously.
Having garnered a market share of 3-4% as of December after selling over 1 million smartphones since July 22 last year, Xiaomi is now focusing on setting up its own research and development centre in Bengaluru where, within a year, smartphones’ software will be designed and be meant for the Indian market.
The company is also ramping up production in China, which will allow it to increase the number of units from about 100,000 units it sells a week through flash sales on Flipkart, to about five times that number. Jain added that high production may also permit Xiaomi to offer its devices through ordinary sales online in the future.
The smartphone maker competes with rival Chinese brands Gionee, Oppo and One Plus, besides a swathe of Indian brands including Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Intex. It is also in talks with electronic manufacturing service providers to begin making smartphones in India within 18-24 months.