Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Crowds celebrate Xiaomi’s opening of its first offline store in the Philippines on February 19, 2018. Photo: Handout

Xiaomi expands into the Philippines after conquering India in push ahead of IPO

Foray into offline store in the Philippines comes as the Beijing-based company topples Samsung as No 1 vendor in India, a key overseas market. This comes after the company opened stores in Vietnam and Thailand.


Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi opened its first offline store in the Philippines this week, part of its overall strategy to boost international sales ahead of its much-anticipated public share offering.

The launch in downtown Manila on Monday attracted more than 2,000 people, Lei Jun, founder and chief executive of Xiaomi, said in a post on his official Weibo account.

“The fervour Xiaomi has received globally is mainly because we strive to make touching and honestly-priced products,” he said.

The first authorised Mi Store in the Philippines, in partnership with local distributor Grimalkin Corporation, offers a selection of Xiaomi products ranging from its electric kettle and selfie stick to smart wrist band, Mi Notebooks and smartphones, including its recent Note 4 and Mi Max 2 models.

The expansion comes as Chinese smartphone vendors are eyeing emerging Asian markets as future growth engines to make up for sluggish growth at home over the past year. Last month, Xiaomi opened its first offline store in Vietnam, following a similar launch in Thailand late last year. Its rivals Oppo and Vivo have made their presence felt with physical stores and billboards in populous markets like India and Indonesia.

Xiaomi shipped 8.2 million smartphones in India during the fourth quarter of 2017, outstripping its South Korean rival’s 7.3 million units, according to a report published by consultancy Canalys.

Often dubbed “China’s Apple”, Xiaomi has been aggressively pursuing overseas markets amid increasingly stiff competition at home. It also needs to find diversified, long-term earnings channels to boost investor confidence ahead of a planned IPO this year.

The Mi logo seen inside Xiaomi’s office in Bangalore, India. Photo: Reuters
Xiaomi is targeting a public offering in Hong Kong in September, which could mark the world’s biggest technology listing this year, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The renewed overseas push is taking place after Xiaomi climbed back into the global top five vendor list last year, according to IDC, with its global smartphone shipments growing 74.5 per cent to 92.4 million units. It was the No 1 vendor in China in 2014 and 2015, but saw its ranking pushed down amid fierce competition among mainland Chinese rivals.

In a speech to employees earlier this month, Lei vowed to retake the top smartphone spot in China within 10 quarters – a crown it lost in 2016 – while “vigorously” pushing overseas expansion, according to a transcript verified by the company.

Ranked as the world’s most valuable private company in 2014, Xiaomi is currently China’s fourth-largest smartphone vendor, with a 12.4 per cent market share, behind Huawei Technologies, Oppo and Vivo, according to research firm IDC.

Lei noted in the same speech that China’s smartphone market growth rate is likely to shrink further in 2018, amid “even more intense competition”.