Ringing In Success
‘As we continue to move ahead, we will ensure that we keep innovation at the heart of everything we do’
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.
Four 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.
This growth perfectly encapsulates the journey of Xiaomi in India so far. Since starting out as a minnow in the booming Indian smartphone market four years ago, Xiaomi has today become the market leader. In fact, it has been so for the last five quarters now.
“Xiaomi is a new species — we are a hardware company, we are an Internet company and we are also a new retail company. We follow a unique business model, namely the triathlon business model, wherein we offer hardware, Internet services and new retail. We are a multi-billion dollar business in India. In the first year in 2015, we made losses. In the second year in 2016, we crossed the billion-dollar revenue mark, and making profits out of that is incredible,” says in an exclusive interaction with BW Businessworld.
Incidentally, this is Jain’s second innings as an entrepreneur. A well-known name in India’s startup ecosystem, he co-founded Jabong.com, a fashion and lifestyle e-commerce portal in India and served as its managing director from February 2012 to January 2014. Although he quit Jabong in 2014 to head India operations of Xiaomi, he still retains a small stake in the fashion etailer.
Earlier, he worked with McKinsey & Co. for five years before he was roped in by Jabong co-founder Praveen Sinha.
Born and brought up in Meerut, Jain graduated in in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi in 2003. He subsequently secured an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 2007. Currently, he is the Global Vice President of Xiaomi as well as the Managing Director of Xiaomi India.
Xiaomi, which started out as a software company, entered the smartphone business only to get people hooked on to its OS. It was in 2014, when Xiaomi brought Jain onboard as their India head, that the company came up with its first phone — Mi 3 in India. In mid-2015, Jain was asked by the company’s co-founders for a timeframe on when Xiaomi would become the No. 1 smartphone company in India, to which he replied: “Three to five years from now and it will be a great thing to achieve (the landmark) by 2019.” But surprisingly, the third quarter report of the calendar year 2017 revealed that Xiaomi had topped the Indian smartphone market share tally for the first time.
Talking about the edge Xiaomi enjoys over its peers, Jain says, “The technology industry is extremely dynamic in nature. In India itself, it is continuously growing with the smartphone and smart TV categories evolving. We believe in constantly innovating. As we continue to move ahead, we will ensure that we keep innovation at the heart of everything we do as we strive to offer our consumers the best of products and services at an incredibly honest pricing.”
Interestingly, Jain admires the work done by Lei Jun, Founder and CEO of Xiaomi, and Ratan Tata for their bold vision and willpower to transform the communities for the better, which has left a lasting positive impact upon most individuals.
Talking about the roadmap he has set for the company, Jain maintains, “In my opinion, our journey at Xiaomi still has a long road to cover, and there is plenty of untapped potential towards delivering technological innovation at every individual’s doorstep in India. And I hope to not rest until I have given my complete share of contribution. This is a humble yet powerful reminder to me of our phenomenal journey with Xiaomi India and the scale of positive growth that we have experienced. I’m confident that there are going to be many such memorable moments for us as we strive to deliver our best.”