Xiaomi to Open Branded Retail Stores in India?

March 14, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Xiaomi has become a global brand over the past few years, and while their devices and products might not be readily available outside of a few key markets, the Xiaomi name is steadily wafting further West. India is a key example of how Xiaomi can take a market other than China by storm. The firm starting selling lower-end devices in the country and even launched an Indian-specific Mi 4i smartphone. After some time, the Chinese brand has become one of the most popular brands in India where smartphones and gadgets are concerned. Mostly focused on online-only sales, a recent report claims that Xiaomi could be looking to move into operating their own Xiaomi branded stores in the country.

The Chinese brand has submitted plans to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to open and operate stores that purely sell Xiaomi products, such as the new Mi 5. and related accessories, similarly to how an Apple store functions. Interestingly, Indian law dictates that for a firm to open and run its own stores in such a fashion, the firm must produce at least 30% of their products in India. For whatever reason, Apple doesn’t need to conform to such a ruling, possibly due to the high prices of their devices, but Xiaomi is already on track to meet such a target. A number of devices sold in India are already produced in the country as part of the “Make in India” scheme, and there are plans in place for the Chinese giant to open two more manufacturing plants later this year.

There have been rumors of Xiaomi looking at a similar sort of plan in their home nation of China, as the firm is struggling to sell quite as much online due to massive competition from brands like Huawei’s Honor and other, better-priced competitors. After operating for so long however, the Xiaomi brand has certainly made a name for itself, and there’s no reason why branded stores wouldn’t well for them. In China, Apple stores have become popular and despite the very high prices, Apple products are doing well. In a nation where it’s difficult to get hands-on time prior to purchasing, and returning a smartphone is difficult, it’s likely such stores would work for Xiaomi in India, should they choose to go ahead with the plans.