In a shocking move, Xiaomi has pulled the hugely popular Xiaomi Mi 3 off the (virtual) shelves in India for an indefinite time, as the focus shifts to the Redmi 1S which goes on sale on September 2. Hugo Barra, their global VP had confirmed yesterday that the company had sold over 95,000 units of Mi 3. Although that’s not a huge number, the fact that they were able to sell thousands within few seconds every week.
The story was first reported by The Techolic, and when we asked Manu Jain, the country head of Xiaomi India, this is what he had to say
Over next few weeks, we will focus on Redmi 1S, and Mi 3 wont be available. We will take the final call after few weeks, once we have more visibility / data points.
The focus on Redmi 1S is understandable. That phone is tailor made for India, the fastest growing smartphone market in the world. This is the time when many feature phone users are thinking about moving to the smartphone arena, and Redmi 1S fits their bill to a T. Attractively priced at Rs.5,999, it comes with top notch specs rivaling a Rs.10k phone like the Moto G, with Xiaomi’s own MIUI adding to the usability advantage. Redmi 1S sports a Lite Mode, which is perfect for elders and first time users.
But the sudden stop on Mi 3 sales will disappoint a lot of Xiaomi fans. Despite some initial hiccups with regards to quality, the phone was well received in general (our review here), so much so that it had garnered huge demand in the black market, with people finding it tough to buy through the official channel, where each flash sale getting sold out in matter of couple of seconds.
We don’t know the real reason behind the discontinuation of the Xiaomi Mi 3. Was it always in their plans to test waters in India with Mi 3 and then focus on the Redmi series? Or did the huge demand (with bad supply) which resulted in lot of bad press made them look away? Or their upcoming expansion plans in Indonesia and Brasil has anything to do with this decision?
In any case, it is clear that Mi 3 won’t be sold, at least for the near future. With Mi 4 already launched in China, and expected to hit the Indian shores in Q1 2015, we might very well say goodbye to the Mi 3. Hugo Barra clarified that Xiaomi will be bringing the 4G LTE (TD-LTE and FD-LTE) version of the Mi 4 which is still under development. It is rumored to be priced around Rs.19,999, but the launch is still 3 to 4 months away. Before that we will see the mid-end Redmi Note for around Rs.8,999. Let’s see what other surprises we have in store from Xiaomi.
Edit: Title updated for accuracy