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BW Businessworld

Doing It The Smart Way

With its focus on high quality, innovative products and honest pricing, Xiaomi has disrupted the Indian smart mobile market like no other brand on its way to the top

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

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Manu Jain, Managing Director, Xiaomi India

When Manu Jain began his innings at Xiaomi India as its Managing Director way back in 2014, he operated from a compact, six-seater office in Bangalore with a very small team. In fact, in the beginning, there was no one else in the office except him and he would happily do all the odd jobs from opening the office every morning to holding meetings with senior partners.

Five years later, the company has metamorphosed into a billion-dollar firm that operates from a 180,000 sq. ft office that houses 500-plus members. In the past two years, Xiaomi has grown exponentially and it has achieved various milestones thanks to the vision outlined by the young and dynamic Jain.

The year 2018 witnessed Xiaomi’s entire business model making its way to India. “Our journey towards becoming the No. 1 smartphone brand in India has been phenomenal, to say the least. We are working towards making Xiaomi the coolest brand in the world and in India. Our vision of innovation for everyone and developing each product with the mission statement of ‘best specs, highest quality and honest pricing’ are the centrifugal forces for our success,” Jain,  who is Vice President of Xiaomi as well as Managing Director of Xiaomi India, told BW Businessworld.

Talking further about his company’s USP, Jain says, “Our aim to bring high quality, innovative products to everyone at incredibly honest prices has helped us earn the massive love and trust of millions of Mi fans and customers in India.”
“At Xiaomi, one of the key motivators is the company’s thriving work culture which embodies transparency and promotes entrepreneurial spirit,” he adds.

It may be recalled that having initially entered the Indian smartphone market in 2014 as an online-only brand, Xiaomi disrupted the industry, and currently remains No.1 in online sales for 10 consecutive quarters with 48 per cent market share (IDC report in Q1 2019). In fact seven out of 10 smartphones sold in India are Xiaomi smartphones (IDC report in Q1 2019). It diversified into Smart TV segment in Q1 2018 and went on to sell over 2 million Mi LED TVs within a mere 14 months of their launch. The company is the No.1 smart TV brand for the fourth quarter in a row (Q1 2019, IDC Quarterly report) with 39 per cent market share, more than the collective share of the next three brands.

In Q4 2018 alone, Mi TV shipped more than five lakh units. To top it all, Xiaomi is also the no.1 wearable brand for five consecutive quarters (as per Q3 2018 IDC report) with over 40 per cent market share with its popular fitness bands called Mi Bands.

Xiaomi is a benchmark today due to a three-pronged strategy of product portfolio management, price point adoption, and multi-pronged distribution. The three-brand ploy in smartphones — Mi, Redmi and Poco — seem to have worked and driven the “pseudo-smart” Indian brands like Micromax, etc. out of the mind-space altogether.

“We believe our Mi fans are our biggest brand ambassadors who have immense love and admiration for the Xiaomi brand and are actively involved in our product development efforts. It strives to go beyond being just a profit-making firm, and in line with these efforts, we have also capped our hardware profit at 5 per cent margin,” says Jain.


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