The road from 25 physical stores to a cool thousand is undoubtedly shaping up to be a long, convoluted, time and money-eating one for Xiaomi, but online sales can only achieve so much, even in a digital or post-digital world.
The Chinese OEM also needs to ramp up its international spread, especially in key smartphone markets like the US and India. A stronger retail presence in other countries should help narrow the global gap to domestic leader and arch-rival Huawei too, with Xiaomi’s first ever brick and mortar shop outside the Greater China region finally inaugurated in Singapore.
For starters, the Suntec City mall-located Xiaomi Mi Home store will stock just phones and mobile accessories, various appliances and “Mi ecosystem” products coming down the line.
More symbolic for the company’s foreign growth is perhaps a recent Indian box-office feat, no less than 500,000 Mi smartphones going out to local buyers between October 1 and 3. Granted, those were some special 72 hours, with rare discounts offered both on Amazon and Flipkart, but considering Xiaomi shipped 500K units in no less than 30 days back in October 2015, the progress feels remarkable.
Mind you, this was before the Redmi 3S Plus saw daylight in physical stores, and after Xiaomi reportedly ranked third among local vendors, very narrowly behind Micromax. There’s no stopping the “Apple of China” from taking over the world now.