Monday, 30th October 2017

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There is Mi life beyond smartphones

Here’s all about Xiaomi’s ecosystem

  • Published 9.10.19, 9:17 PM
  • Updated 9.10.19, 9:17 PM
  • 4 mins read
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Mi TV 4X 65 (Xiaomi)

From a smart TV standpoint, we are very new in the journey, only 18 months old. So for us the base is growing. We are in a growth phase and haven’t seen an impact,” Raghu Reddy, head of online sales and categories, Xiaomi India said during a recent meeting in Bangalore. There was confidence in his voice while addressing the question around the economic slowdown. His company has done exceedingly well, be it in smartphones or the many products the Beijing-HQed company has launched in the last couple of years. In fact, the “other” products from Xiaomi — from Mi TV to the game-changing water purifier — have found plenty of takers around the country. Once a person goes down the Xiaomi rabbit hole, there is no way out because of the top quality of the products. For example, the new Mi TV 4X-series has received three TVs with new sizes of 43 inches, 50 inches and 65 inches, all with a 4K HDR 10-bit panel.

t2 spoke to Raghu Reddy about everything Xiaomi but beyond phones.

Mi Beard Trimmer
Mi Beard Trimmer (Xiaomi)

Deciding on the products for India

In China we have a wide variety of products and multiple product categories. However, India is the most important market for Xiaomi after China. Some of our ecosystem products have been long awaited in India, and Mi fans in India have expressed, during various occasions, that they would want to see and experience more of Xiaomi technology. Therefore, we are now getting more and more categories to India.

Xiaomi’s India product portfolio currently includes multiple product categories besides smartphones. At present, we have a wide variety of ecosystem products such as air purifiers and security cameras; lifestyle products — beard trimmers, luggage bags, shoes; accessories — power banks, sound bars, earphones and so on. We take feedback from our Mi fans on the Xiaomi products, which help determine our future offerings in India. For the same, we also introduced Mi experience zones in all key metro cities, so that our fans have the opportunity to touch, feel and experience a diverse range of our innovative products.

MI Smart Water Purifier (RO+UV)
MI Smart Water Purifier (RO+UV) (Xiaomi)

What works for China may not work for India

It is true that every product that Xiaomi has in China may not be suitable for the Indian market. Each country has its own demands and requirements, depending on culture, buying patterns, consumer’s evolvement level, infrastructure of the country and so on. Some of the customisations that were done specifically for the Indian market include…

1. Air Purifier: When we decided to launch the Mi Air Purifier 2S in India we had to integrate a technology that would enable it to switch on automatically once power is re-connected. Since power outage isn’t an issue in China, the product originally did not have that capability but was built in especially for India.

2. Mi Beard Trimmer: It’s designed for Indian consumers; the product is available only in India and not in any other market.

3. PatchWall: This is Xiaomi’s own interface on Mi TVs designed for India, bringing together more than 14 different content partners, both local and global.

The start-up culture in India

The start-up community in India has grown exponentially in the past few years and many new technologies/concepts have emerged owing to the same. The young minds here have completely changed the way we are living our lives and we believe that it’s important to appreciate and support them. As a result, Xiaomi, with its venture capitalist firm Shunwei Capitalist, has invested in over 20 start-ups in India. Some of the companies that we have disclosed are Hungama, Sharechat, Social Samosa, Krazybee and ZestMoney. At present, the Indian start-up ecosystem is extremely software driven, with very few hardware companies in the industry. Hardware-driven start-up market is still booming and we hope that we will be able to invest and help such companies grow further in order to build a stronger start-up ecosystem in India.

MI Men's Sports Shoes 2
MI Men's Sports Shoes 2 (Xiaomi)

On the connected home front

As the concept of smart homes is becoming popular across the world, India is also witnessing a great demand for intelligent products and connected homes. The Indian smart home devices market saw a yearly growth of 107 per cent reaching to 1.4 million shipments in the second quarter of 2018, according to IDC.

Pursuing the five per cent profit margin model

Xiaomi believes in honest pricing for all its products. We have committed that we will forever limit our profit margin to not more than five per cent on our hardware products, which include smartphones, ecosystem products and so on.

Working with Indian companies

At the moment we will not be able to comment on future product lines, but our aim has always been to introduce products to best suit the needs of Indian consumers. Currently, in India we work with Sensy for our range of TVs. Sensy is a smart remote app that helps us improve the linear and non-linear integration of our TVs. It helps users to access their favourite channels easily, switching to desired channels with voice command and also allows easy access to recently-watched TV shows.

MI Smart Band 4
MI Smart Band 4 (Xiaomi)

The secret recipe for Xiaomi’s success in India

A great line-up of highly innovative products with best specs and high quality at a truly honest pricing. Our unique triathlon business model comprises hardware products, Internet services (we have value added Internet services such as Mi Credit, Mi Music, Mi Pay and Mi Video in India) and new retail. This model has helped us design innovative products/services of high quality with best specs and offer them at honest pricing to all.

We initially started with e-commerce, which is the most efficient distribution channel considering the cost-efficiency in delivering products directly to consumers. Then we began expanding our offline segment by implementing our “new retail” business concept. This innovative retail concept has helped keep our prices the same no matter what platforms we sell on - online or offline. Under this concept, we apply the advantages of e-commerce into our offline retail, increase the efficiency of the circulation of our products within each store while retaining the consumer’s retail shopping experience.

We also have a very strong community of Mi fans with over 6,000 active members on the platform. Mi fans are the backbone of our business and they play a significant role in product development efforts and enhancing offerings for consumers across India.