On Thursday, Xiaomi launched a new device Redmi Note 3 at Rs 9,999. “Xiaomi is planning to rapidly expand in India as this is the second-biggest market for the phone maker after home market China,” Hugo Barra, global VP for the company, told TOI. Xiaomi had in August last year partnered Taiwanese contract-maker Foxconn as it began local assembly of phones at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, and at present, about 75% of phones it sells are being sourced locally .
Barra has an opinion on the proposed launch of the budget smartphone Freedom 251(for Rs 251) by Noida-based Ringing Bells. “It seems unlikely… the business model does not appear to be viable,” he said, adding that a definitive comment cannot be made as he is not privy to the Indian company’s business plans.
The company, which made its debut in India around middle of 2014, has been finding going to be tough at a time when it has also been upstaged by Huawei in China. Industry analysts say Xiaomi, founded by Lei Jun, has been slow in introducing newer products in a business where rivals constantly upgrade their devices and rapidly bring in new devices.
Barra, however, counters the argument. “Why should we discontinue a product when it’s doing well? Also, it impacts our supply chain.”
However, competition is something that worries Barra. “The smartphone market is getting insanely competitive. But we know it too well. These are the same players we have seen in China. As far as Xiaomi is concerned, our strategy in any market is to focus on building incredible products.” Barra said Xiaomi will launch its Mi5 handset in India in the next one month.