Xiaomi, the high flying brand from China which started rolling in early 2010 rapidly moved on to becoming the most valuable tech startup with a steep valuation of $45 billion last year. Now a year has passed; Lei Jun led company is no longer at the top of the pillar when it comes to valuation of tech startups and their smartphone sales seems to have been slightly sluggish during the last quarter.
A brand which once took bigwigs like Samsung, Sony and Apple by storm when they were just starting is gradually facing a slowdown in their sales, at least that’s what is evident from quarterly smartphone sale reports of various global smartphone brands worldwide by reputed analyst firm IC Insights. Well, Xiaomi can’t be entirely blamed for this as the smartphone sales itself are expected to fall this year. This however, is something to worry about for a company like Xiaomi who despite calling itself an ‘Internet company’ amasses 90% of its sales from smartphones.
Xiaomi has always adopted an online friendly model that helps them keep costs down thereby passing it down to its users in the form of affordable products. While affordability is one of the keys pillars of success for Xiaomi, the same can’t be said for accessibility and the brand has been reputedly criticized in the past for their ‘Flash Sale’ model. Now, it seems that Xiaomi is all set to tackle this issue and plans to set up a number offline retails stores. In an interview with Fortune, a Xiaomi spokesperson revealed their plans of opening about 50-60 Xiaomi offline stores by end of this year and eventually expanding them to around 200-300.
Xiaomi apparently is betting big on the retail offline market to make some changes to their flattish sales graph. This however isn’t the first time the Chinese tech startup is opting for an offline retail model. Led by Manu Jain, Xiaomi India had kick started the company’s offline plans back in 2015 thanks to tie-ups with MobileStore and few other retail partners spread across India. However, it failed to garner much success.
This time around, the Chinese brand is planning to open Xiaomi offline stores across China, mainly targeting the smaller cities where people prefer buying products on retail stores than the company’s online web portal. Xiaomi in fact has partnered with Suning, which apparently is one of the largest retailers in China with nearly 1600 stores spread across 700 cities of the country. That aside, Xiaomi operates 25 offline outlets across which the company fondly refers to as Mi Homes. These outlets showcase Xiaomi’s ecosystem of products ranging from smart pressure cookers to water purifiers. As expected, these include the company’s highest selling smartphones and fitness trackers too.