Xiaomi's Mi Fans Disrupt Indian Mi Max Launch Event

Xiaomi India released the Mi Max phablet last Thursday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. The device, which features a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, a 16MP rear camera and a 6.4-inch, FHD (or 1080p) resolution display, two SIM cards, a massive 4,850 mAh battery and a mid-range price, was released in China in May but potential customers in India have had to wait before the handset was released. Unfortunately, whilst Xiaomi are hoping that their new phablet would benefit from the launch, there were difficult scenes at the event when Xiaomi fans expressed their anger at how Xiaomi were managing the event.

To put things into perspective, Xiaomi have a loyal following across the world. The company appreciate and respect their fan base and invite customers to new launches. This is a pattern that we see repeated amongst the smartphone industry based in China or Taiwan. Unfortunately, an hour into the event a number of fans sitting inside the stadium started shouting derogatory chants about the company and its employees. The head of Xiaomi India, Manu Jain, asked the crowd what was the problem and the answer was that some fans were upset that their friends were not allowed into the stadium, but instead were forced to wait outside. Furthermore, not all fans received the free Xiaomi t-shirt that had been handed out. Manu explained that Xiaomi had grossly underestimated the popularity of the Mi Max event, presumably running out of the t-shirts. He publicly apologized and explained that everybody who attended the event would receive both a free t-shirt and other goodies "if not today, then at a later stage."

Whilst this satisfied some Xiaomi fans, others were less than happy at the delay to a date at some point in the future. The police were called, who arrived and first told the crowd to calm down and then moved to deal with the rowdy crowd. Xiaomi's Hugo Barra introduction of the MIUI 8 and the Xiaomi Mi Max seemingly did not appease the crowd and at the end of it Xiaomi India's Lead Product Manager, Jai Mani, came on the stage to give his number and to invite Mi fans without their freebie to personally contact him. It is encouraging for Xiaomi that a number of people are so passionate about their products that they would cause a ruckus at a new launch event and it seems Xiaomi will be learning from their experience: bringing more freebies and perhaps using a bigger venue are on the cards, rather than the Chinese company deciding not to run any more launch events.

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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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