Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi held an event in Singapore this morning. Aside from launching the Redmi and Mi3 phones in Singapore, Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra and Lin Bin talked a lot about Xiaomi’s ambitions around the world.
Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra explained to the event’s Singapore audience that the company will use the same customer-focused tactics in Singapore as it does in China – such as listening to users and making small changes to the product throughout its lifecycle based on what they say. Xiaomi will have a service store in Singapore that’s only for repairs, just as it does in China. Sales will be conducted online or via partner telcos, but telcos may set their own prices.
No plans yet for US and Europe
Barra also explained why the startup chose Singapore as its first stop in Southeast Asia – indeed, as its international HQ – by saying that it was tempted by the small but very sophisticated market, which would allow them to iterate fast. Xiaomi can then use those lessons in neighboring markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Xiaomi is also looking closely at India, Barra says, where it’s actively looking for partners. Those four, mentioned specifically by the company at today’s event, look to be the next markets for launch.
However, Barra described the US and European markets as far too difficult at the moment. And so the disruptive Chinese phone-maker looks set to focus on Asia for growth of its brand.
Xiaomi isn’t actually the first Chinese smartphone brand to look to Asia for expansion, as Oppo, Meizu, and Coolpad have been doing the same thing with their Android-based phones in the past year.
(Additional reporting by Vanessa Tan at the event; editing by Vanessa Tan)