Xiaomi plans to explore non-phone segment

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 09, 2018

Eyeing new avenues Manu Jain, Global V-P of Xiaomi, launching the entry-level budget smartphone Redmi 5A in Kolkata   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Company to develop smart home appliances; ramping up research and development team

Chinese handset-maker Xiaomi is planning to launch customised or will develop a new set of products for India in the non-phone segment. Offerings would primarily span home appliances initially before it looks at other higher-end ones.

Accordingly, the company is ramping up its research and development wing with focus on localising products.

It may be mentioned that Xiaomi’s China portfolio covers close to 40 categories that include smart TVs, (smart) home appliances, electric vehicles, fitness bands, smart shoes, and so on. Naturally, a host of these offerings would be introduced in the country.

In India, mobile phones apart, Xiaomi’s product bouquet includes air purifiers, power banks, V-R plays, selfie sticks,; routers and fitness bands.

Manu Jain, Global V-P, Xiaomi and India MD, points out it will enter into two to three “new categories” within 2018. He did not specify the nature of offerings or time frame.

“We are evaluating what products we can bring here. Whatever we introduce will be localised to suit India’s needs. Or, it could be a new category altogether,” he told BusinessLine.

In fact, Xiaomi has already explored utilities of some of its products here. For instance, the company explored introducing water purifiers. Compared to China, where offerings come without a water tank, the India requirement is just the opposite. Interestingly, here it is the size of the water tank that plays a key role in water purifier sales.

Similarly, the Mi Robot vacuum cleaner too is not suited for Indian conditions as is Mi’s electric scooter.

“We are ramping up the R&D team that deals with these non-phone products,” Jain said, adding that from two people at present, the number will be taken up to 10 by next year.

The R&D facility will be based-out of Bengaluru; where it’s two other divisions – one dealing with software and the other with phone hardware – are located.

Dedicated manufacturing

Xiaomi, is also planning to have dedicated manufacturing facilities for each of these new categories that it plans to launch.

Since, the company follows an asset-light model, it will tie up with local partners or even global suppliers. “We are open to tie-up with local partners or with those who can set up a facility for us,” he added.

Apart from two mobile manufacturing facilities at Andhra Pradesh (in partnership with Foxconn), it has one for power banks at Noida.

Published on December 18, 2017

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