Xiaomi are the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, having moved from zero to hero in four years. During 2014, they started to branch out across the world and one of the markets that they focused on was India. Unfortunately, the Indian expansion plans came to a grinding halt when the company was banned from selling the devices because of an alleged patent infringement. This hasn’t stopped Xiaomi from investing in its Indian operations – far from it, going by the latest story, where it’s revealed that Xiaomi are preparing to set up a research and development unit in Bangalore, India.
This will be Xiaomi’s first research and development unit outside of China and it will have a brief to improve the localisation of its smartphone products for the Indian market. The source cites that Xiaomi are in the process of signing a lease for the centre and it’s expected to be operational in March. Xiaomi India head, Manu Jain, told the PTI: “The R&D unit will focus on India-specific products to begin with. We will focus on localization, themes and then India-specific features to cater to local requirements here.” It’s unclear how many jobs the move will create nor how many will be filled locally.
This is a good move by Xiaomi. One way or the other, the patent dispute will be resolved and I expect the business to record strong Indian sales. Xiaomi have tremendous mindshare thanks to a combination of clever “hunger marketing,” a strong product at fantastic value for money. By hunger marketing, Xiaomi have deliberately kept their stock levels low (claiming that it is because they are a relatively small manufacturer) and organising sales via their website with little notice to customers. Their hunger marketing has successfully navigated the difficult waters of keeping consumers interested in the brand, but keeping supply restricted enough such that at every sale, the product sells out in a handful of seconds. This latest move shows that Xiaomi are committed to the Indian market and are prepared to invest money into the region; this R&D unit will both improve the product and support sales going forwards.
The Indian manufacturers clearly have a fight on their hands! What do our readers think to Xiaomi’s investment into the Indian market? Is this a good move? Let us know in the comments below.