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Xiaomi's success in India, showcase of closer China-India ties

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-10-12 13:27
The Xiaomi logo is pictured inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India, Jan 18, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - When Xiaomi entered the Indian market in 2014, Lei Jun, founder and chairman of the Beijing-headquartered tech giant, didn't expect that his company would leapfrog to India's top-selling smartphone brand after only three years.

In the third quarter of 2017, Xiaomi became the leader in India's smartphone market and has remained in the pole position for eight consecutive quarters. In the second quarter this year, the company registered a smartphone shipment of 10.3 million units in India, accounting for 31 percent of the market share, according to Canalys, a global tech industry analysis firm.

Lei told Xinhua in a recent interview that when he visited India at the beginning of 2017, he expected Xiaomi to lead the Indian smartphone market in three to five years.

The target, however, has been realized well ahead of his schedule with Xiaomi's robust performance in India.

On Oct 5 this year, Xiaomi India announced that it sold 5.3 million devices during the festival of Diwali, including more than 3.8 million smartphones. So far, the company has set up about 2,000 Mi stores and seven factories across India, creating over 20,000 jobs in the country.

"I can see Xiaomi smartphone users everywhere in India, whether I'm on a taxi or a plane," said Liu Yuxiang, Xiaomi's country manager of internet service for India, adding that Xiaomi has a large number of Mi fans in India, some of whom would travel all the way from south India to New Delhi to attend the brand's product launch events.

Nawnit Kumar, an Indian student studying at China's Tsinghua University, called himself a Mi fan and told Xinhua that many people in India would line up to buy Xiaomi smartphones when new models were unveiled.

Xiaomi is one of the Chinese enterprises who have tapped into India's booming, lucrative smartphone market.

While Xiaomi and Samsung were the two best-selling smartphone brands in India in the second quarter this year, Chinese counterparts Vivo, Oppo and Realme rounded out the top five, according to Canalys.

The strong presence of Chinese smartphone makers in India is testament to the increasingly closer economic ties between the world's two largest developing economies.

According to China's Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between China and India reached a record high of $95.54 billion last year, up 13.2 percent from 2017. In breakdown, Chinese exports to India rose 12.7 percent year-on-year, and Chinese imports from India increased 15.2 percent.

In 2018, Chinese businesses signed new engineering contracts with a total contracted value of $2.89 billion in India, up 12.2 percent year-on-year, and China's direct investment in India added up to $4.7 billion by the end of 2017.

Lei attributed Xiaomi's rapid progress in India to its successful localization strategy. "We have realized the localization of our brand with a local team and customized products for local customers," Lei said.

"We hope we can continue to provide exciting and affordable products so that more people can enjoy the wonderful life brought by technology," he said.

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