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Xiaomi plans premium push in India through Mi

NEW DELHI: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi will double down on its premium bid in India in 2020 and wants to establish its Mi brand for products in pricier segments, including smartphones and televisions. It aims to continue to serve the mass market through its Redmi sub-brand for smartphones.

“In China, there are clear portfolios for Redmi and Mi. Mi stands for innovation and premium appeal. It has been missing from our portfolio here and we would want to set that up going into 2020,” Xiaomi India head of online sales and categories Raghu Reddy told ET.

Under the new strategy, Xiaomi, which has so far focussed mainly on the affordable segment to become India’s top smartphone brand, will launch a number of premium phones under the Mi brand. Besides, it will expand the smart TV range with big-screen premium products. “We will launch a lot more of premium flagship devices under the Mi lineup. Once we have devices, there will be a clear differentiation between Mi and Redmi,” Reddy said.

The company may also look at launching its concept phone, Mi Max Alpha, in India and elsewhere. Priced in China at 19,999 renminbi, it could cost as much as Rs 2.5 lakh in India after duties and other expenses.

Counterpoint Research associate director Tarun Pathak believes that the Mi brand will have more appeal and stronger connect with India customers. A wider premium segment presence generates higher margins, analysts said.

Xiaomi entered the Indian market with its Mi 3 smartphone in 2014, followed by the launch of the Mi 4 and the Mi 5. But the portfolio took a backseat as the company focused on its core Rs 6,000-15,000 segment through Redmi.

Reddy said Mi will focus on the Rs 20,000-plus smartphone segment.

The premium smartphone segment in India has been growing rapidly, expanding 66% in the December quarter from the year earlier, according to Counterpoint data.

“We now believe that this is a meaningful segment for us to go and focus our energy on,” Reddy said.

Xiaomi has wider distribution and offline retail presence in India along with its own Mi Home setup, which will help in the premium drive.

“We treat both online and offline to be equally big partners and we will ensure we have the same set of products for both brands,” Reddy said.

Source: Economic Times