Xiaomi opens first offline store in India; plans 100 in two years

By Alnoor Peermohamed , Business Standard, Bengaluru | In Digital | May 12, 2017
Xiaomi recently became the second largest smartphone vendor in terms of sales in India.

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has opened its first offline store 'Mi Home' in India as it looks to reach out to more offline customers and double its revenue to $2 billion in the current fiscal.

Xiaomi recently became the second largest smartphone vendor in terms of sales in India, the fastest growing smartphone market in the world. The company's success here comes at a time when it has slipped to the fifth spot in China, beaten by rival Apple.

The Mi Home store located in Phoenix Market City, an upmarket mall in the Whitefield locality, will be owned and operated by Xiaomi, allowing the company to retain its margins. Xiaomi says its goal is to match the efficiencies of selling devices online with devices sold in its offline stores.

"In everything we do, there are two things which we want - great customer experience and profitability. While we're making significant investments in offline stores, that's not as important as the other two," said Manu Jain, managing director at Xiaomi India.

After Bengaluru, Xiaomi is planning to open Mi Home stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai in the coming months. The company plans to perfect the model and become profitable in selling devices offline, after which it says it will look to expand to 100 stores in the next two years.

While focusing on growing its own offline presence, Xiaomi says it will not stop partnering with offline retailers to sell its devices. Just as the company has its own e-commerce portal mi.com but still sells on Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm, it will look at a similar hybrid approach when it comes to selling devices offline.

"We will not give mi.com or Mi Home preference just because they are our own properties. But if we see sales through our own platforms growing significantly, we can obviously allocate more stock here. With Mi Home, we're committing that devices will always be in stock, and if it is we will hand customers an f-code to purchase the device on priority online," added Jain.

Xiaomi says all Mi Home stores will have a standard look - grey walls, light wooden table tops and white ceilings, both in India and China. The model is similar to what Apple follows the world over.

The company will also open larger stores where customers will be able to experience products which the company has not yet launched in India.

On his last visit to India in March, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun had said that he was confident that the company would grow its revenues to $2 billion in the fiscal year 2018. While supply continues to remain a constraint, the firm has grown to become the second-largest smartphone vendor in India. Jain says that this shows there is more appetite for Xiaomi devices in India, which is a good sign.

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