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Xiaomi sees huge potential in India over five years due to high feature phone base, says CEO

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp founder chairman and CEO Lei Jun said the company sees huge potential of conversion of feature phone users in Indian villages to smartphones which would boost growth of the company in the country over the next five years.

Addressing analysts during the company’s July-September quarter earnings call on Tuesday, Jun said the Indian smartphone market is about 130-50 million units every year with another 150 million feature phones.

“So that means, we have a lot of work to do, right? We should continue to innovate to make very cost effective high-performance smartphones to serve the Indian consumers,” he said.

Jun said Xiaomi will build the sales channels down to the countryside till the villages so that consumers there are equipped with mobile internet which would hopefully change their lives and make it better. “This is our plan. So overall, I think…we’re very, very optimistic about the future growth for the next maybe five years,” he said.

Xiaomi reported 55% growth in revenue in the September quarter this year as compared to last from the rest of the world geographies which is mainly from India and Europe.

Jun said Xiaomi is sustaining its smartphone leadership in the Indian market for 13 quarters now. He said the Indian market is now equally divided between online and offline channels with each contributing 50% sales. This, he said, requires a more balanced approach if Xiaomi wants to be successful in India.

“Right now, we have established a system to cover the major market, including Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Southeast Asian countries, and India,” he said.

Jun said Xiaomi is seeing a global recovery in sales from the July-September quarter after the impact in business in the previous two quarters of the year due to the pandemic. However, he said there are tough challenges in supplies due to supplier shortage.

“So we are closely monitoring the status of the pandemic in Europe, in India,” he said. Jun is hopeful and optimistic of next year due to the vaccine roll out which is almost ready.

Xiaomi said as of September 30, it had 20,881 full-time employees of which 19,319 were based in mainland China mainly in its Beijing headquarters, with the rest in India and Indonesia.

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