The smartphone industry is currently one of the most competitive industries in the world. With each passing year we see the advent of a new smartphone maker. Some of them are established brands looking to diversify their business by entering an already crowded, but much in demand, market. Then there are start-ups that are coming up with smartphones that are built keeping a local market in mind.
Enter brand Mi.
The Chinese smartphone maker has made rapid strides since it began operations in India. Their entry in the Indian market was so spectacular that their flagship product the Xiaomi Mi 3 became a runaway success destroying all previous records of smartphone sales online.
Xiaomi’s foray into the Indian market was powered by Hugo Barra and lead by Manu Jain captivating the attention of millions of Indian consumers. This success was a combination of offering a high quality product at affordable prices. At the time of its launch in India, the Mi 3 was undoubtedly one of the best phones in terms of performance and by offering that performance at a previously unheard of price for a phone with such specs, the Mi3 became a game changer compelling other brands to follow suit. Xiaomi has also led the way for other Chinese smartphone makers and their success has convinced the likes of OnePlus One Tech that India is a market worth exploring.
A little earlier this year IDC noted that despite its “online only” strategy Xiaomi made it to the top 5 smartphone vendors in India in its first full quarter in India. They even captured a 4% smartphone market share, for Q4 2014, in India, not bad for a debut year performance.
According to IDC this was also the first time that the Indian smartphone market share had contracted. That just makes Xiaomi’s 4% market share capture an even better achievement. When your product sees a significant growth in a market that is contracting, yours is surely a product offering worth buying. In business, there is nothing like proving your mettle and standing out from the crowd when your competitors are feeling the heat.
An analysis of their growth-share matrix (BCG matrix) reveals that they started out in a high growth market with an extremely low market share but are now proving to be cash cows in a market that is experiencing slow growth for the first time ever. They are in the right place at the right time with the best possible product offerings.
After the success of the Mi3, Xiaomi went onto launch the Redmi 1s last year that catered to the budget phone market in India and boy did they knock Motorola’s best selling Moto G off the pedestal! The fact that the Mi3’s success was no fluke was established when the Redmi 1s stock started breaking more online sales records and sold out faster than the Mi3 had during its launch.
One of the things that makes Xiaomi stand out from the many other smartphone brands currently operating in India and elsewhere is the fact that they are not primarily a smartphone company. Much to the surprise of a lot of people Xiaomi builds more than just smartphones. They have a top-notch software division that builds apps adding to their consumer’s in-phone experience.
The MIUI is a world class interface and has a plethora of Mi apps at its disposal. Xiaomi also builds a few other extremely efficient consumer electronic products such as the Mi band and the Mi power bank. To top it all they do all of it in-house which means they design, develop, and sell their own products. While most smartphone vendors don’t build their own software, Xiaomi goes a step ahead and is building an ecosystem around their phones. And to top it off their success in China and India has made them the world’s third largest smartphone maker, third only to Samsung and Apple.
Earlier this year Xiaomi added to their success in India by launching their new flagship product the Mi4. While the Mi4 continues to impress and gain more market bite for Xiaomi, they have already announced the next set of super impressive devices to hit the Indian shores later this summer.
The rise of the Mi brand has certainly not been a fluke and Xiaomi knows that the ascend to the top will require them to continue offering the best consumer electronic devices bundled with an equally terrific app ecosystem. With other global smartphone brands looking to make a foray into the Indian market the competition just got stiffer and at the end of 2015 Xiaomi would deserve a standing ovation if they are still among the top smartphone companies in India.