Xiaomi recently launched its smartphone devices in Pakistan and has managed to gain a strong foothold in the market despite competition from very strong and well-established players in the local market. The reason behind the huge success of Xiaomi is its different approach in terms of marketing and strategizing that varies from other tech giants such as Samsung and Apple.iaomi is a well-renowned smartphone brand with 5th largest market share in the world. One of the first devices that came out of Xiaomi was Mi2. This was the first device that featured the revolutionary and famous Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. The device sold close to 10 million units within the first 11 months of its inception, thus allowing Xiaomi to gain a foothold in markets such as Australia, United States, Europe and New Zealand.
The pace at which Xiaomi is growing is unprecedented in Pakistan and we have tremendous support from our customers
Phoneworld team had a chance to meet the dynamic Xiaomi team including Ahmed Butt (AB), Director Marketing, Zain Aftab (ZA), Director Sales & Strategy and Yasir Altaf (YA), Director Operations for a short interview. Here is what they said about Xiaomi’s plans for Pakistan.
PW: Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey? How is your experience in Pakistan so far?
ZA: Xiaomi globally is a young company as compare to other giants like Samsung, Huawei etc. In this very short time, it has evolved into one of the biggest giants in the world. As far as our journey is concerned, we have started with a very rapid growth. The pace at which Xiaomi is growing is unprecedented in Pakistan and we have tremendous support from our customers.
PW: What were the initial challenges Xiaomi has to face when it started off in Pakistan?
YA: The biggest initial challenge that we faced was creating customer knowledge about our brand. Every new customer buying our product helps us in strengthening our brand identity.
Our relationship with our customers is getting better day by day and we not only hope to meet but rather exceed their expectations
Xiaomi is not just a smartphone brand; we aim to create a complete eco-system. When we started off in Pakistan, we only had 5000 Mi fans, but only within few months our community grew to almost 25000 Mi fans. So we are very satisfied with our overall performance.
PW: Understanding customer demand is quite a difficult task, how has Xiaomi identified its target customer?
ZA: A lot of homework has been done regarding consumers’ behavior through extensive researches being done in our Beijing Headquarters. As far as Pakistan is concerned, our team has a lot of experience of this industry as we all had the opportunity to work with other brands here. So when we teamed up for Xiaomi we already knew about the trends of our local market but every day is a new challenge and a new learning experience.
AB: Our relationship with our customers is getting better day by day and we not only hope to meet but rather exceed their expectations.
PW: Mobile market has been dominated by few large companies for a very long time but now many new brands are also entering the market. How do you see this evolution and how far do you think Xiaomi has been successful in making its mark?
ZA: We are aware that we are in competition with some very strong brands like Samsung, Huawei and OPPO. But we believe that our products are very unique from the rest. Unlike other brands, we have not restricted ourselves to just smartphones rather we have a wide product portfolio of smart devices.
Unlike other brands, we have not restricted ourselves to just smartphones rather we have a wide product portfolio of smart devices
In coming months we are going to launch 40 new products including smart bikes, smart weighing scales, air purifiers, LEDs, smart watches etc. We are also considering the possibility of introducing drones but that largely depends on local laws and policies. Xiaomi plans to switch-on its full throttle mode in future and that is definitely going to shake up the competition.
PW: So what other smart devices and gadgets should we expect from Xiaomi?
YA: There are different smart devices that we are planning to launch in Pakistan. From a small device like a power bank to a smart scooter, Xiaomi offers everything a tech savvy customer wants. This will also create a huge opportunity for mobile network operators as it will dramatically increase the mobile broadband uptake in the country.
This will also create a huge opportunity for mobile network operators as it will dramatically increase the mobile broadband uptake in the country
The great thing about Xiaomi portfolio is that our products are very suitable for Pakistani market from price perspective. We plan to offer affordable solutions for average Pakistani consumer and that’s the key strength we are relying on for our eco-lifestyle launch expected by the end of December 2017. If we talk strictly about smartphones, we have recently launched our flagship devices Mi 6 and Mi Max 2 in August. Our Mi Max 2 is the only phablet in the world that supports 6.44 full HD display whereas; Mi 6 is the third fastest phone in the world right now thanks to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chipset.
Mi 6 is the third fastest phone in the world right now thanks to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chipset
PW: Although Xiaomi is one of the top smartphone brands of the world but the name is newer to Pakistani market. Why Xiaomi didn’t go for a huge media campaign to launch itself?
ZA: Xiaomi does not believe in celebrity endorsement. We don’t think that it’s a bad thing and we also might do a media campaign in future but we believe that it is no substitute for quality and value. For us, product excellence is above everything else. Our prices and product quality is so good that we are sure that it will make a mark in the hearts of our customers and that’s something which is timeless and permanent unlike celebrity endorsement and huge media campaigns.
PW: What is your take on the mobile market of Pakistan? What are the main changes that you witnessed in device ecosystem in recent few years?
ZA: Lot of changes have taken places in Pakistani Industry in the recent past. Internet penetration has increased many folds that has resulted in enhanced tech-culture in the country.
In this new era of Internet of Things, smartphones have taken the center stage. This is the reason why more and more smartphone brands are now entering Pakistani market.
PW: Xiaomi took some really amazing initiatives right from the start; they collaborated with Daraz.pk and Zong to launch its devices. How helpful it was to establish itself in Pakistani market?
YA: One of our key strategies is make big brand alliances. Earlier, we collaborated with Zong and now we also have signed a MoU with Jazz to launch some eco-devices in Pakistan whereas, negotiations with Telenor are also in the pipeline. The industry has welcomed us with open arms because they are aware of our global portfolio. To capture bigger market and increase our product penetration we have also joined hands with Hyper-star and Metro. We have also collaborated with PakWheels and Bank Alfalah whereas; collaboration with Soneri Bank and JS Bank is also in the final phase. Through such partnership with banks, our customers will be able to buy our smartphones on installments. Every company has a unique clientele and we would love to work with all market segments.
PW: Tell us something about Xiaomi’s distribution and service centers in Pakistan?
ZA: Initially, we have established service centers in Lahore, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Karachi and Islamabad. We are going to build new service centers in Multan, Rawalpindi and Hyderabad. So our network is already as strong as any other brand. We are also planning to launch three to five Mi-Stores in Pakistan. Initially we will launch these stores in Faisalabad, Lahore and Karachi, after that we will expand our chain to other cities as well. In these Mi-Stores, our consumers will be able to experience entire Xiaomi portfolio.
Our prices and quality are so good that we are sure that it will make a mark in the hearts of our customers and that’s something which is timeless and permanent unlike celebrity endorsement and media campaigns
Online store is one the fastest growing industry in Pakistan and it has the potential to capture up to 20-30% Pakistani market. We are working aggressively to improve our online presence for Pakistani customers. We have successfully completed our flash sale campaign and soon we will introduce all our products to consumers directly from our website. Besides Cash on Delivery and credit card payment method, we are planning to take Telenor onboard for its Easypaisa solutions as well.
Flash sale was a totally new concept for Pakistani market and we got amazing response, we managed to get worth 7 million sales in just 2 hours.
In this new era of Internet of Things, smartphones have taken the central stage
PW: Why should customers go for Xiaomi smartphone over other brands? What are the top three reasons in your opinion?
ZA: Best technology, Quality and customer care.
Customer satisfaction is the center point of all our activities. To facilitate our customers and to provide them an ongoing support, Xiaomi devices have a preinstalled app that provides software related support.
Flash sale was a totally new concept for Pakistani market and we got amazing response, we managed to get worth 7 million sales in just 2 hours
Also Xiaomi has a local community of more than 25 thousand members and fans called Mi-family where our customers stay updated with Xiaomi news and happenings.
PW: Any special plans for Pakistani market?
ZA: The biggest plan for Pakistani market is to give consumers an outclass experience and make Xiaomi the central part of their life style. So once we achieve that, we will be able to introduce various other products in Pakistan. Hence the acceptability will become more rapid.
PW: Lastly, what would be the one liner for Xiaomi smartphones?
ZA: Xiaomi nailed it…!!!!
PW: Any message for the industry and our readers?
ZA: We should all stay positive, help each other and work for growth of our industry and let the consumers decide which the best brand is.