Xiaomi to Widen India Product Range to Shed Budget Image

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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is definitely bringing much more affordable devices in India.

A senior company executive said on Monday that Xiaomi is shedding its image as a budget brand by widening its India product portfolio to include pricier, high-spec smartphones and smart TVs.

According to tech research firm Counterpoint Xiaomi begins to sell devices in India in 2014, and in just a short time span it has outflanked South Korea’s Samsung Electronics as India’s top smartphone.

The Beijing-headquartered company’s devices, typically become instant sellers on e-commerce websites and top sales in the up to $250 (roughly Rs. 18,000) price-segment.

But Xiaomi’s more expensive smartphones face stiffer competition from Samsung and Chinese rivals Oppo and Vivo. And technology analysts say it is seen as a cheap or budget brand by customers.

Xiaomi has tried to change that by launching phones with high-end processors and cameras, priced above Rs. 20,000.

“We are inching up in the entire ASP (average selling price) curve,” Muralikrishnan B, the Chief Operating Officer of Xiaomi’s India unit told Reuters. “There is acceptance coming in at the higher end of the price band and in our definition higher end is now 30,000 (rupees).”

Also, Smartphones by Xiaomi are priced from Rs. 11,999 to 54,999 and other Internet-enabled products have also helped bolster its smartphone sales and brand image.

“There are various ways in which you make inroads into the consumer’s psyche, into their home and help one category grow from the other,” Muralikrishnan said.

Xiaomi, which sells the bulk of its smartphones online, is also expanding its retail network in India: it will open 10,000 stores in the country by mid-2020 from over 6,000 stores currently.

The company is also planning to launch a consumer lending business in India, its biggest market outside of China.

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