China’s Xiaomi mulls offline sales of smartphones for first time at new Hong Kong store

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 June, 2015, 7:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2015, 8:00am

China's leading smartphone maker Xiaomi unveiled its first Mi Home showroom outside the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, in Hong Kong’s busy Mong Kok shopping district. It opens to the public today.

Breaking from its online sales-only model, the company may sell its smartphones, including the latest Mi 4i, directly to customers at the new location for the first time in its history, staff said.

“Xiaomi is known for listening to users’ feedback,” said Zhang Jianhui, general manager of after-sales for Xiaomi, which is known for its cost-cutting business model.

“If there high demand from users to buy a particular smartphone, then we could start experimenting with selling them here offline for the very first time.”

The company, which is just as likely to be lauded as China’s Apple as blasted for producing cheap clones of iconic products like the iPhone, already operates 19 Mi Homes in China. Its business partners run 541 service centres in eight markets.

Located on the 20th floor of Hollywood Plaza, the new 270-square-metre outlet has a service area that can fix phones within an hour, a Mi Community section with a table for tutorials, and a showroom to test smartphones and tablets, staff said.

"The Mi Home serves a lot of purposes. Rather than just being a service centre, we want to let users experience new products. We also want to let them mingle and make friends," said Zhang.

In addition to phone servicing, it sells accessories and allows visitors to watch its 55-inch televisions in two mock living rooms. It is decorated in a slick but homely style with sofas and polished concrete floors.

More than 80 accessories, including Hong Kong’s biggest seller, the Mi Power Bank external battery, are on sale at the back of the shop.

Xiaomi will open another store soon in Taiwan and India or Southeast Asia could be next, the company said.

The company sold 10,000 units of the Mi 4i within 1 minute and 22 seconds of its Hong Kong launch on May 12.