Waiting for Xiaomi flagship smartphone? Won't take long, says India MD Jain

Illustration: Ajay Mohanty
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has a healthy presence in the budget and midrange segment of India's smartphone market. However, the company’s flagship segment has not seen new products for a long time. In the company's early days in India, it brought its premium Mi-series, which it updates almost every year. However, the Mi 5, launched in 2016, was the last iteration. Similar is the story for the company’s bezel-less smartphones of the Mi Mix-series.

Many say the company’s focus is more on the sub-Rs 20,000 smartphone segment. But Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain begs to differ. In an interview, Jain confirmed the company had plans to launch a flagship smartphone for India very soon. He also clarified that the phone would not be the one currently available as part of Xiaomi's product portfolio in its home country of China. Instead, it would be a brand new product specifically designed for the Indian consumer. 

Though Jain did not share the specifics, he did make an interesting remark when asked if the upcoming flagship would be a competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S-series or the OnePlus. According to Jain, there are two aspects based on which consumers define a flagship device — a prestige symbol or a top-notch specification-heavy device. According to Jain, the company is working on a product that could have the best of both worlds and yet have a price point that could cater to the masses.

Apart from sharing his thoughts on the upcoming Xiaomi flagship smartphone for India, Jain also spoke about the company’s current manufacturing capacity and how it plans to expand in future, the flash sale model and after-sales service.

According to Jain, the company was manufacturing close to 3.5 million units in early 2017. To address the demand-supply issue, it ramped up the production and now manufactures almost 10 million units. Stating the risks involved in maintaining a huge stock inventory, Jain said the company would definitely increase the manufacturing capacity further, but with a caution.

As for the flash-sale model, Jain said the company knew there were demand-supply issues and was working to plug the gaps. Citing the current range of Xiaomi smartphones, of which only the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Redmi Y2 are on flash sales, Jain said the idea was to push out all the devices through open sale and that meeting the aim was a work in progress.

Jain also spoke about after-sales service. The company’s focus is not just to draw sales but to provide its customers end-to-end service, he said. According to him, Xiaomi’s service centre services had improved significantly over the years, making the company a leader in customer satisfaction. According to Jain, over 80 per cent of the devices received at Xiaomi service centres got repaired within four hours, an incredible feat to achieve. Speaking of relatively high price of spare parts, Jain assured the company did not generate its revenues from service centres.

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