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Xiaomi India to spruce up retail network for rural gains

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Manu Jain_VP and MD, Xiaomi India
Photo IANS

(Tech Trends)

 New Delhi, March 7 

A look at Chinese smartphone player Xiaomi’s current portfolio in India reveals that about 90 percent of its sales are from online channels, while less than 10 percent is offline.

This is set for a change this year as the company is now focusing on strengthening offline sales to penetrate deep into the hinterland.

As of today, Xiaomi ships its products to around 14,000 pin codes — close to 40 percent of the country’s total — every single week.

“This clearly highlights our presence in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. As we increase our focus on offline sales, we will further increase our penetration in these markets,” Manu Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi, and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, told IANS.

Xiaomi India reached three major milestones in 2016 — it crossed $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time, secured a spot among the top three smartphone players in the country and, in October, sold a record 1.35 million smartphones.

The feat, said Jain, was achieved after the company dedicated its first two years to building a strong operations and distribution network within the country to support an innovative product line.

“We are now present in more than 8,500 stores via our innovative offline distribution network. Last year was indeed a great year and we achieved several milestones while building our India story,” Jain added.

Redmi Note 3 was the first device Xiaomi launched in India last year. By year-end, it sold more than 3.6 million units and became the highest shipped device in the history of online India.

“It was followed by equally appealing devices which disrupted the markets in their own domain. In 2017, we will continue to launch more innovative products and new categories,” Jain told IANS.

Xiaomi launched Redmi Note 4 earlier this year and sold more than 250,000 units in 10 minutes in the first sale across mi.com and Flipkart.

“With Redmi Note 4, we are hoping to sell more than double the quantity of Redmi Note 3. We are also working towards strengthening our support pillars such as after-sales and customer-support, among other areas,” Jain added.

According to him, the Indian industry is on the cusp of witnessing some key smartphone trends that will dominate this year.

“We will see faster chipsets that will be able to run seamless applications, while also allowing consumers to multi-task. Apart from fast processing, these chipsets will also provide optimal power consumption from a single charge,” Jain told IANS.

Bezel-less smartphones will be the game-changer and more and more smartphone players will launch bezel-less display to enhance the overall viewing experience by providing a higher screen-to-body ratio.

“Xiaomi launched Mi Mix in China last year which is bezel-less concept smartphone that features a screen-to-body ratio of 91.3 percent,” Jain noted.

With an upsurge in usage, the smartphone makers will focus on bigger battery which can handle long hours of LTE usage, multi-tasking and high-graphic games and video content.

“As more consumers perform their everyday tasks on mobile phones, people require more storage space for multimedia content, applications and so on. Even mid-range smartphones will focus on providing increased storage space this year,” Jain emphasised.

With smartphones becoming more powerful, manufacturers will also explore the world of virtual reality. “In the year 2017, we will see even affordable smartphones that will have VR functionality,” Jain added.

If we look at its global performance, Xiaomi — once touted as the “Apple” of China — has slipped to fourth spot back home as the demand for its smartphones has declined.

To reverse this, the company is now focusing on five core areas — technological breakthroughs, new retail strategy, globalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet finance — with a goal of 100 billion Chinese Yuan ($14.5 billion) in revenue in 2017.

But in India, the Xiaomi story is completely different and growing over country-specific, innovative products.

By Nishant Arora 

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at [email protected])

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Mobile manufacturing to touch Rs 132,000 cr: Prasad

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Indian mobile manufacturing industry is expected to touch Rs 132,000 crore by the end of 2018, Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday.

India manufactured about 110 million mobile phones in 2015-16 as compared to 60 million in 2014-15, a growth of over 90 per cent. In value terms, India’s mobile manufacturing industry produced mobile phones worth Rs 54,000 crore in FY15-16, compared to Rs 18,900 crore in FY14-15. This touched Rs 94,000 crore by the end of 2017, the minister said.

He was speaking at an event organised by MeitY, ASSOCHAM and Ericsson.

In terms of volume, in 2014 India produced 5 crore mobile phone made locally in India, which reached 15 crore in 2015-16.

In 2017 the Indian mobile manufacturing industry produced 22 million mobile phones. “The industry would produce 50 million mobile phones by 2020,” said the minister.

In terms of electronics manufacturing units, the minister said that within three years, the industry added 120 such units. Two-third of these were mobile manufacturing units and there were 54 such units in Noida alone. These industries employ 5 lakh people, he added.

IANS

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‘Galaxy J2 2018’ to come pre-loaded with ‘Samsung Mall’

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New Delhi, April 26: Samsung on Thursday said its smartphone “Galaxy J2 2018” will be available from April 27 pre-loaded with a new feature called “Samsung Mall.”

“Samsung Mall” is part of the “Make for India” initiative that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to deliver search results on the basis of a product picture clicked on or uploaded from the user’s gallery, the company said in a statement.

“Samsung Mall uses AI to revolutionise the way customers shop online with visual search,” said Sumit Walia, Director, Mobile business, Samsung India.

Priced at Rs 8,190, “Galaxy J2 2018” features a 5.0-inch “super AMOLED display, an 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera — both with LED flash.

The device is powered by Quad-Core 1.4 GHz Cortex A53 processor paired with 1.5GB of RAM and 2600mAh battery.

Additionally, Jio users who purchase “Samsung Galaxy J2 2018” can avail a cashback of Rs 2,750 in their “MyJio account” on recharging with a Rs 198 or Rs 299 plan.

The cashback for Jio users comes bundled with an extra 10GB of 4G data on every recharge for the next 10 recharges.

IANS

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More people prefer iPhone 8 over iPhone X in the US: Report

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San Francisco, April 25: More and more people are buying iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus than the “super premium” iPhone X in the US, a new survey has revealed.

According to the research group Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), iPhone 8 made up 23 per cent of iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2018 and iPhone 8 Plus registered 21 per cent.

“The iPhone X trailed at 16 per cent, down from 20 per cent the previous quarter,” CNET reported on Tuesday, citing the survey’s findings.

The survey also showed a trend among respondents toward buying past years’ iPhones.

“During the same months of 2017, the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for nearly 70 per cent of iPhone sales. This year, a lot more people are buying iPhones from one, two and even three years ago,” the report noted.

Apple will announce its next quarterly earnings report on May 1.

In March, a top analyst with asset management firm Piper Jaffray said that unlike what Apple had expected, the response to iPhone X has been lukewarm as many existing users believe that the device is too expensive.

“According to Apple news site PED3.0, Michael Olson, a senior researcher with Piper Jaffray found that 44 per cent people who didn’t upgrade said that they baulked at the idea because their current ‘iPhone works fine’,” Fortune reported.

More than a third of the respondents said that the iPhone X, which starts at $999, is too expensive.

“And eight per cent said they would have upgraded if the new phone had a larger screen,” the report added.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities, said in March that the Cupertino-headquartered company would cease production of iPhone X mid-year.

Apple is reportedly gearing up to introduce three new iPhones in 2018 and one of them will be more popular than the others, according to Kuo.

IANS

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