After its meteoric rise a couple of years back, the Xiaomi juggernaut has slowed down. In the first quarter of this year, the company only managed to ship 10.9 million smartphones, which marks a 26 percent decline from the same period last year. However, the company is fast moving into the IoT space with its Mi Ecosystem, which is a group of 55 startups Xiaomi has invested in or has incubated to create connected devices ranging from air purifiers to drones. This has led many to believe that Xiaomi is getting into the home appliance business at a time when smartphone sales are slowing down. But Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra insists the company is “not becoming the next Samsung.” Also Read - Xiaomi electric cars are coming in first half of 2024, confirms company: Check detailsAlso Read - Redmi Note 11, Note 11 Pro; price, key specs leak ahead of launch: Check out details
What Barra meant is there are no plans to manufacture all kinds of appliances in order to make up for the dip in smartphone sales. Instead Xiaomi is only focused on appliances that can talk with Xiaomi’s platform. “We think of our business as a platform and the three main pillars of that are MIUI operating system, ecommerce business and hardware,” Barra told ET. Also Read - Top 5 Smart TV deals under Rs 20,000 in Flipkart Big Diwali Sale
“We sell all these diverse products directly to our consumers and stand to make profit for ourselves and the original device manufactures. But having said that I would like reiterate that we are not becoming the next Samsung in terms of manufacturing all kinds of consumer electronics, rather we are more focused on IoT products. Since we are not into air conditioners, microwave ovens, fridges etc, we embed our wireless chips inside most third party home appliances so that they can communicate and send data back to our platforms as well,” he added.
Xiaomi has been building up its ecosystem by investing in various startups in China, and currently the Mi Ecosystem involves 55 startups. These include the likes of Zimi, maker of Mi Power Bank, Mi Band maker Huami and Ninebot to name a few. With the help of these companies, Xiaomi expects to bring in revenues of RMB 10 billion ($1.54 billion) in 2016.
Xiaomi has launched various connected devices in China, ranging from a smart kettle or rice cooker to a connected electric bike for urban commuters. But none of these devices have been launched in India. Barra assures that there are no regulatory hurdles stopping Xiaomi from launching its IoT devices in India. Instead the simple reason, he says, is that these smart devices are not suited for the Indian market. “For example, the air purifiers that we had launched in China will take some time before those are launched in India,” Barra said.
He also adds that it takes a lot of time in the ‘production and certification of these varied IoT products’. That said, Xiaomi has plans to ‘gradually’ introduce these products in the Indian market, but there is no timeline yet.
It’s not just the IoT products either, and Xiaomi hasn’t launched its Mi TV in India either. But Barra says bringing it to India is easier said than done, and Xiaomi currently doesn’t have the logistics to sell it at Mi.com. “Delivering the right content is important on Mi TV and we are making lots of bets in demand content. Our partnership with Hungama is just an example. Moreover, platforms like YouTube are also extremely important for the on demand content ecosystem and we want Mi TV to be a part of the transition,” he adds.