Xiaomi to go big on premium ‘Mi’ category in India in 2020

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, which has been known as the leader of the budget smartphone category, is going big on its premium “Mi” line up in India this year and the portfolio will see a sustained set of launches through 2020, a top company executive said.

“These launches will be across categories which we think will help ‘Mi’ maintain consumer interest in 2020. We also intend to bring the premium smartphones from the Mi line-up, which has recorded a substantial interest since we entered the market,” Raghu Reddy, Head of Categories, Xiaomi India, told IANS on Thursday.

The smartphone maker has brought its flagship Mi Mix Alpha concept smartphone to India with a wraparound curved display design. The device previews some of the technologies that can be expected in forthcoming Mi series phones.

“With another wave of form factor innovations coming out (with devices such as Mi Mix Alpha), users can expect to see some sort of disruption in the form factor space as well. Of course, these innovations will take a few months more to reach the segment of the market where the mass resides,” added Reddy.

Xiaomi’s flagship Mi Mix Alpha is a concept phone that essentially uses a flexible OLED display that wraps around the device.

Asked about the company’s retail strategy in 2020, Reddy replied: “We believe in maintaining a proper balance for both offline and online.

“Both platforms online and offline are equally important for us and currently our online to offline ratio is 60:40. However, we aim to bring the same to 50:50 very soon in 2020,” he noted.

The company is planning a strategic focus on expanding the width of distribution in the country for its offline sales this year.

According to the handset maker, more than 99 per cent of smartphones that are sold in India are manufactured locally.

“We have a production capacity of three smartphones per second during operational hours. We locally source and assemble PCBA in India. Even smartphone chargers, USB cables and batteries are nearly 100 per cent locally sourced,” added Reddy.

Aiming to make India a manufacturing hub and increase exports from India to countries globally, the firm has launched small export pilot to Bangladesh and Nepal.

“We have requested the government to make India a more export-friendly destination. In order to become a global manufacturing hub, India needs to compete with hubs such as Vietnam and China that are preferred by investors given their attractive and stable export-oriented policies, coupled with better infrastructure and logistics network,” Reddy informed.

“Few initiatives will work in favour of this initiative such as the Duty drawback refund for merchant exporters. We would also invest in laboratories, which allow for global standard testing, since BIS is not a globally accepted standard,” he added.

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