Early this year, when the chinese startup Xiaomi had revealed its plan to enter into India, there were very few takers to the fact that the company is going to revolutionize the whole smartphone industry in India. After nearly five months since the Xiaomi’s first smartphone Mi3 was launched, both Tier 1 smartphone OEM’s, likes of Samsung, LG, and homegrown vendors, such as Micromax and Lava, are sweating hard to counter the phenomenal growth of Xiaomi in india.
Within just four years of existing Xiaomi has grown multifold to become the third largest smartphone manufacturer, globally. In India, both Redmi 1S and Mi3, have got a proven sales track record and hundreds of thousands people are still waiting for grab a devices that typically goes out of stock within few seconds of the sales launch every week.
Most of the analysts credit Hugo Barra, Vice President – Xiaomi, for the company’s prodigious growth, especially in markets outside China. In mid 2013, when Xiaomi poached Hugo Barra, then Vice President –Android, from Google, it became evident that Xiaomi has got big plans to conquer the world’s largest and fastest growing smartphone market – APAC region. In last six months, the company has grabbed a sizable chunk of the smartphone market in all the major APAC countries, including India and Indonesia, and strengthened its presence at the global level.
Today, with the launch of 3G version of 5.5-inch Redmi Note in India, company has forayed into the growing phablet market.
Quite recently, we got hold of Hugo Barra for an exclusive interview to discuss about Price War in India, upcoming offerings in mobile internet space, learning from Apple and Google, and what are future strategies of Xiaomi to eat into Samsung and Micromax market.
“We are here to learn about this market and we like to try and speak to this market in a powerful way that could really caters to their needs. That’s why we are talking about Mi India, not about Xiaomi or Mi. Mi India is the company we are here to built,” says Hugo.
Xiaomi is known in the market as Mobile Internet Company, primarily. However, people recognise it more like a smartphone manufacturer company likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony. In our earlier interview Manu Jain, India Head – Xiaomi, explained how Xiaomi has developed a focused approach to the market leveraging MIUI, apps and many more intuitive features come bundled with all Mi phones. In the discussion with Hugo Barra we tried to validate the concept of ‘software first, hardware later‘;
Xiaomi is indeed an internet platform and services company. We have built a platform called MIUI and the delivery vehicle for that platform is Mi smartphones. And, the delivery platform for these phones is ecommerce websites, whether it’s our own or someone like Flipkart. So, that’s a very different way of thinking than the traditional smartphone hardware company. They think of building some amazing hardware than they think about what software to put in there. Instead, we start from the software first. Only a software company generally adopts all these type of decisions and thought processes.,” answers Hugo Barra.
At the end of the day, it’s software where the magic lives. The magic always lives in the software. And, you just have to have an amazing hardware to deliver it,” adds Hugo.
Below is the complete interview video of Hugo Barra speaking from the mind, attending few tough questions, including the influence of Google and Apple on Xiaomi…