By Gokul Bhagabati
New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) In a bid to further accelerate its robust growth in India, Chinese electronics major Xiaomi on Tuesday announced it has opened a record 500 retail stores in the rural parts of the country.
Called “Mi Stores” and opened on October 29, these are similar to the bigger “Mi Home” stores currently operational in the metros and other big cities.
“The company created a Guinness record for simultaneously opening the maximum number of stores in one single day. Xiaomi plans to open 5,000 Mi Stores by the end of 2019 that will create nearly 15,000 jobs,” Manu Kumar Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi Global and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, told reporters here.
“The average size of a Mi Store is around 300 square feet while the average size of a Mi Home store is about 1,200 square feet. One village could have a maximum of two Mi Stores,” he added.
To open a store, one would have to visit the company website and fill up a Mi Store franchise application form.
“One need not have any retail or business experience to become a partner, but he/she must be passionate about the Mi brand,” Jain said, adding that the investment required for opening a Mi Store would be under Rs 10 lakh for a franchisee.
All costs related to the branding in the stores would be borne by Xiaomi, while other expenses, such as on interiors or on rent, would be borne by the partner.
Started with the online-only strategy, Xiaomi is fast expanding its presence in offline retail.
Xiaomi currently has 50 “Mi Home” stores in the country and over 4,000 Mi Preferred Partner (third party) stores spread across over 50 cities.
“The Mi Stores will have full range of Xiaomi products. All the stores would have an air conditioner, a dedicated TV wall and a counter to sell ecosystem products. The aim is offer the visitors almost similar kind of experience that one derives from visiting the Mi Home stores in big cities,” Jain said, adding that the company would also like to open service centres in all the areas with Mi Stores.
Xiaomi currently has over 1,000 service centres in the country for phones, while the number of service centres for TVs has crossed 650, he said.
Best known for its low-cost pones, the company shipped 11.7 million units and became the top brand in the Indian market with a27.3 per cent share in the third quarter this year, with Samsung at second spot, according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report last week.
The company grew to a new high on the back of its successful Redmi 5A and Redmi Note 5 Pro series and refreshed Redmi 6/A/Pro portfolio, said the report.
But the eight-year-old company wants to be recognised not as just another smartphone company.
“Our TV business in India is growing at an explosive rate. We have become the No 1 smart TV brand in just six months,” Jain said, adding that the company sold 400,000 TVs during this Diwali season alone.
Xiaomi in October announced that it entered into a partnership with Noida-based Dixon Technologies to locally manufacture Mi LED TVs at its facility in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
Along with these products and others in the smart home portfolio, Xiaomi is also venturing into non-technology related segments like luggage, shoes, apparel and more.
Riding on its robust sales in India and Europe, Xiaomi reported a 49.1 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue for its third quarter of 2018 as net profit reached 2.48 billion yuan ($357.23 million).
(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at email@example.com)