Selling devices at cost and online-only seems to be a lucrative tactic for at least one Chinese manufacturer
Speaking at the D:Dive Into Mobile event in New York City, CEO of Xiaomi Bin Lin made some pretty bold statements about the expansion and plans for the company. Xiaomi, if you've never heard of it (we don't blame you), is a Chinese smart phone manufacturer that exclusively uses its own version of Android on high-end devices, which it generally sells at cost directly to consumers. Choosing to spend practically no money on marketing, sales or retail locations, Xiaomi has been producing phones with the highest specs and selling them for about $400 unlocked to Chinese consumers.
Now the company wants to expand beyond just China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Lin expressed that Xiaomi is aiming to hit 15 million devices shipped this year, moving towards a global strategy to sell phones elsewhere. Could this model work in the U.S. and Europe? It's hard to say, as at least here in the states manufacturers generally rely on strong carrier partnerships and huge marketing pushes to sell devices. We'd surely welcome a new player that is willing to come in and mix things up, though.
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