Xiaomi Corp, the world’s fourth largest smartphone vendor, has launched a mobile retail store to expand its distribution network to consumers in rural India.
Manu Kumar Jain, a Xiaomi global vice-president and managing director at Xiaomi India, said on his Twitter account on Monday that the new van-based Mi store will connect “villages through a moving store.”
The project, called a “Mi Store on wheels”, was completed in just 40 days, he added.
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The initiative comes after India’s smartphone sales plunged 50 per cent year on year in the June quarter due to severe supply chain disruptions following government lockdown measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the world’s second most populous country.
The mobile store will offer an alternative for people living in India’s remote areas to try out and buy Xiaomi products without travelling to a larger town for an in-store visit.
The Chinese brand, which controls about 30 per cent of the Indian smartphone market, shipped a total of 5.4 million units the second quarter, topping rivals such as Samsung and Oppo to maintain its No 1 spot in India.
Since a deadly border clash between China and India in May, there have been calls for Indian consumers to boycott Chinese-made goods.
The Mi Browser Pro, which comes pre-installed on all Xiaomi and Redmi smartphones, was in August added to the original list of 52 Chinese apps banned by the Indian Ministry of Information Technology in July.
However, Xiaomi‘s smartphones have not been banned and consumers in the country are still attracted to them for their lower prices.
Beijing-based Xiaomi opened its first Mi store in India in August 2018 and by the end of August this year that number had grown to 3,000 across the country, according to Muralikrishnan B, the chief operating officer of Mi India.
The news portal India.com reported that a Mi Store on Wheels has been launched as a pilot phase in a remote area in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, with a broader launch in other states to follow.
Xiaomi president Wang Xiang said in an August conference call with analysts that the company’s smartphone sales in India have recovered to about 72 per cent of their pre-pandemic levels.
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This article China’s Xiaomi launches a Mi Store on Wheels to reach consumers in rural India first appeared on South China Morning Post