Xiaomi (or as some people call it, the “Chinese Apple”) is on the talk everywhere right now. After their victory over Apple in terms of sales in China and signing Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s global vice president, to the team, now Xiaomi is no longer a local brand. Oh yes, it has gone international.
And its popularity is undeniable, Xiaomi’s Redmi sold out within 8 minutes in Singapore, the Mi3 sold out within 3 minutes in Taiwan, and more recently, sold out in 17 minutes in Malaysia. It seems like everyone wants to get a hold of a Xiaomi smartphone. In fact, Xiaomi’sMi3 and Hongmi made it into the February 2014 list of the world’s ten best-selling smartphones, which gives them something to shout about.
What is so special about Xiaomi? Well, coming from a country where almost all tech manufacturers made their products, its position as a local brand sure is something to be seen as an advantage. Their dynamic duo, Lin Bin and Lei Jun, also have a highly similar relationship to Apple’s dynamic duo, the double Steve, Wozniac and Jobs: the brain and the face. They are not just selling technologies, but they claim to be giving the community what it deserves. And coming from the most populated country in the world, those words are not to be taken lightly.
Xiaomi shocked the world with its product “Mi 3” which has a great feature, arguably comparable to Apple’s iPhone 5 or Samsung’s S4, with only a fraction of the price. Xiaomi is also “highly innovative”, contrary to Apple’s line of product which only consist of iPhones and iPads (and the most recent one, the iPad mini), they have the “Mi phones”, “Mi Pad”, and “Mi Note”. Again, ARGUABLY combining Apple’s iPhone & iPad with Samsung’s Note series.
But I’m not going to talk in depth of their technologies, instead let’s look at their newest breakthrough: launching in Indonesia.
Into the Blue Sea!
Yes, Indonesia has been known (at least to a local extent) to have one of the highest number in mobile phone usage. One person can even have two to three phones, and a huge number of the population (considerably above 60%) is the price-conscious class, making it a wide open market for Xiaomi. Its biggest obstacle might be coming from fellow Chinese manufacturers who have made their way to the Indonesian market way faster, such as Mito, Nexian, and many more. In my opinion, Xiaomi has to decide which market to conquer and which competitors to defeat: the lower markets with the fellow Chinese phones and some other manufacturers such as Nokia and Sony (who still have their fair share of featured phone market) or the higher markets with Apple and Samsung mostly.
Or there is a third option: making a new market, a hybrid of tech conscious guys with price preferability: the Mi users.
It’s Coming Soon
Hugo Barra, is in Jakarta as this article is being written. And according to his interview, Xiaomi is taking care of its needed certificates to be legally marketing their products in Indonesia, and it’s coming in a couple of months. Xiaomi has decided to go on with Erajaya as its partner, but is not closed to other potential partners in the near or far future. Knowing Indonesia’s regulation, Xiaomi – which is famous for their e-commerce approach to sales – decided to not use its own website to sell their product in Indonesia, but will solely rely on Indonesian e-commerce partners.
Fully aware of the price condition in Indonesia (which is normally 10-20% higher than neighboring countries such as Malaysia or Singapore), Xiaomi is ready to set up several service centers and customer service centers in Indonesia, fully maximizing its service to the Indonesian market.
However, Xiaomi’s slate isn’t as sparkly clean as they think. Just recently in China, a woman’s Xiomi Mi2S allegedly burst into flames in her handbag. This soon went viral among netizens, causing buyers to worry about their Xiaomi products. Despite this, we have to keep in mind that since there is yet to be any solid confirmation about this event and Xiaomi has also yet to release any explanation on the matter, it is not known how exaggerated or accurate this viral news is.
So, will Xiaomi be another major hit or flop in Indonesia? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.