Xiaomi's 2019 Plan for India: Fewer Phones, More Offline Stores

Xiaomi's 2019 Plan for India: Fewer Phones, More Offline Stores

Redmi Note 7 will be a "game changer", asserted Xiaomi's Manu Kumar Jain in a recent interview

Highlights
  • Xiaomi wants every smartphone to be "a runaway success"
  • The company aims to open 5,000 rural stores this year
  • The plan is to "have more than 100 Mi Home stores" by end of 2019

Xiaomi India is set to make its first major announcement of the year on Thursday, with the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro expected to make an appearance at the launch event in New Delhi. There have been plenty of rumours related to the specifications and price of the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro, and it's only a matter of hours before everything becomes official. Gadgets 360 spoke to Manu Kumar Jain Global Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, earlier this month where he outlined how the forthcoming launch could be a "game changer" for the Indian market.

Apart from discussing other topics like ads in MIUI, Jain also outlined Xiaomi's plans for the year, which includes an increased push to expand offline retails and somewhat surprisingly, fewer smartphone launches. Here's what he said.

"Ideally, if you ask me, we would prefer to launch fewer number of devices, but ensure each device is a killer device," Jain told Gadgets 360. "It should have very distinctive points that consumers can understand and it should be a runaway success. Things like Poco [F1], things like Redmi Note 5 Pro — each of these devices sold huge volumes during their lifecycle — I would ideally want to have all our devices like this."

"Now, practically speaking, it's not possible for every single device to be like a Redmi Note 5 Pro when you are selling 10 million phones in a year, but of course can you aim to have seventy, sixty percent of your devices, two-thirds of your devices like this? We would rather prefer to launch fewer phones but each one of them is such a killer product, rather than launching too many phones with small-small-small differences," he added.

Starting with the Redmi Note 7 Pro launch in India on Thursday, Jain revealed the plan is to refresh most of its smartphone range this year, and maybe even kill a couple of them. He also spoke about potentially launching more India-exclusive models.

 

"We have six-seven series right now in India — we've Redmi A, Redmi, Redmi Note, Redmi Y, Mi A series, and Poco. We would probably be upgrading most of the series," he said. "We may chose to — depending upon our assessment — we may choose to kill one or two of them, and we may choose to introduce one or two new series in India."

"Some of them would be specifically designed for India. Like Poco was designed for India. It was a brand that wasn't even launched in China. It was designed in India, for India, and launched first in India globally. Ideally we would want to do something similar this year," he continued.

Xiaomi is already the number one smartphone brand in India but Jain is keen to consolidate this position by focusing on the offline market.

"Our biggest focus area would be still on offline, because in offline we still have only 20 percent market share, in online we still have 50 percent market share," he explained. "So we definitely want to grow our market share from 20 percent to an even higher number."

"So can we, say, suppose double our Mi-preferred partners? We've taken an aggressive target — those 500 rural stores? We want to open 5,000 such stores this year, maybe have more than 100 Mi Home stores."

"And by doing all of these things, we will definitely have, probably a much bigger market share in offline," he concluded.

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