Xiaomi's Battle With Samsung Will Lead To More Indian Stores

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Xiaomi's fight with Samsung over the supremacy of India's smartphone market prompted the Chinese company to open more brick-and-mortar stores in the South Asian country, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing an interview with Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain. The Beijing-based original equipment manufacturer has already been establishing a stronger offline retail presence in India but is adamant to ramp up its efforts going forward and is planning to open 100 additional Mi Home stores in the country in the next 18 months. Besides its first-party retail locations, Xiaomi is also keen to expand its network of preferred partners, independent consumer electronics vendors who don't offer its products exclusively but feature them in a prominent manner, according to Mr. Jain.

Having entered India just three years back, Xiaomi outdid all expectations in the country and is presently tied with Samsung for the title of the largest local smartphone company, according to numerous industry trackers. Its quick success in the world's second largest market for contemporary handsets is also the primary reason why it's now said to be in the process of preparing an initial public offering meant to be held later this year; despite initially struggling to maintain its momentum following a funding round in 2015, Xiaomi managed to revive its operations through rapid growth in India and is now looking to strengthen its position in the country going forward. Mr. Jain largely attributes the firm's recent success in India to its offline focus which went against Xiaomi's online-only roots but also allowed it to get its products in the hands of many first-time smartphone owners who are less likely to use e-commerce platforms. Xiaomi's Mi Home stores are somewhat reminiscent of Apple's brick-and-mortar locations, being designed as casual meeting places so as to allow consumers to try out the firm's offerings without feeling pressured to buy anything or move along.

The Chinese OEM is presently managing 17 Mi Home stores in India, having established its first one last May. The company will introduce between six to eight new Android smartphones in India over the course of this year, with Mr. Jain saying the lineup will span all "key" price points. Xiaomi isn't the only handset vendor that's now partially refocusing on offline sales in India; besides its main rival Samsung, Google is also said to be planning a similar strategy going forward in an effort to promote its Pixel devices.

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