In an interview with Quartz, Xiaomi's global VP Hugo Barra mentioned that the Chinese manufacturer is fully focused on India following its success back home. After establishing a base in India, Xiaomi is now looking to set up an R&D center as a way to manufacture devices locally in the country.
We are here not to sell phones and dominate. We are here for the long run, and we want to brand ourselves into the fabric of this country. We need to start small, we need to listen, iterate.
So we take our time, we ramp up carefully; we take feedback very, very seriously. The whole operation has to scale, we can't just have a sales spike. We are not here to open a sales office or a branch office. India is currently the company's biggest focus after our domestic market.
We will, for sure, write software here. We certainly are also considering the possibility of manufacturing through partners. We don't make products ourselves. We use Foxconn and others to do the manufacturing for us. We are here for the long run and it might make a lot of sense to be able to make [devices] here.
Barra also talked about how Xiaomi was concerned about meeting its sales targets of a few thousand devices when it debuted in the country earlier this year:
When we came here, we were planning to sell a few thousand phones and we were concerned if that target might be met. In the first two weeks alone, we sold 20,000 phones. The first sale was a bit turbulent because we had some technical issues with Flipkart facing enormous traffic. By the end of October, we will be selling up to 100,000 phones per week.
Since we're on the subject of sales figures, Barra revealed that Xiaomi sold 1.2 million handsets yesterday during the Singles Day sale in China, generating $254 million in revenue.
Coming back to India, Barra, who has now relocated to Bangalore to oversee the expansion, said that Xiaomi was looking to build an Internet platform in the country.
We want to build an Internet platform that is delivered through these devices. We plan to partner with a whole lot of companies and build layers of services into the operating system.
Those layers include a collaboration with Truecaller's Truedailer, which will be integrated into the stock dialer on Xiaomi's handsets.
Take for instance the process of topping up your phone account or checking the balance. It's incredibly cumbersome with a majority of the operators. Why isn't it just integrated into the operating system? Why can't you just go to the dialer on a phone and just use a tab there to recharge? You shouldn't need a whole app or a web platform for this. We are going to do a whole lot of these, many of which involves working with startups.
In under six months of operations, Xiaomi was able to cultivate a loyal userbase in the country. It should be interesting to see how it fares once it starts to scale in India. To read Barra's full interview, head to the link below.