China-based, the fourth-largest smartphone maker, Xiaomi is making desperate attempts to prove itself as much Indian as any other homegrown company is. The smartphone major has found a rather unique way to guard its Indian outlets across the country against the attacks of the anti-China promoters and win over consumers sentiments.
Yes, the mighty Chinese player has started covering up its multi-brand store’s logo and signboards with “Made in India” posters. Also, the company has asked its frontline staff not to wear their usual uniforms in the stores. These deliberate steps were taken to protect its workforce and the store from anti-China sentiments and attacks that are spreading across the country like the wildfire.
All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), recently sent the notification to all Chinese smartphone makers to “remove or hide” their branding and demonstrated the threat of damage that may be caused to their stores for selling the Chinese products in India among the anti-China sentiments. Three of the senior industry executives of the body also stated that this move is made as a precautionary measure, because the brand signage on the brick and mortar stores pertains to retailer incentive, and those expected damages could be retailers liability.
They also pointed out that Xiaomi had already made all arrangements and covered up its brand’s logo and signage all across the major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Agra, Patna and some other places where anti-Chinese sentiments were rooted In.
AIMRA had also notified all the Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Realme, OnePlus, Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei with the letter of communication recommending them to either hide the signage or discard them for a few months until all these the anti-China sentiments to settle down. The instruction on the letter goes like this,
The executives also mentioned that they didn’t receive any response from Xiaomi for the email they have sent previously. But other Chinese brands are yet to take the actions as Xiaomi has established. With this in the stand, the retailers said there had been no effect on the rising demand for Chinese products except the short supplies the brands Realme, Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus are facing.
Xiaomi has over 2,500 exclusive Mi Stores in India, which makes it one of the largest smartphone retail chains in India. Its offline presence is 108% bigger than Dominos, 117% bigger than Bata, 48% bigger than Cafe Coffee Day, and 44% bigger than Samsung. However, a lion’s share of the company’s sales still comes from online channels.
The recent India-China border clash has rooted the anti-China sentiments like ‘boycott Chinese products’ all across the nation. But Xiaomi is hopefully on the positive side to establish their sales portfolio to that of the pre-Covid levels by the third quarter of 2020.
Manu Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Xiaomi India tweeted yesterday that in less than 50 seconds, one of its smartphone models was sold out online where he indicated the growing demand for the company’s product.
He also brings up to Economic Times that,
The company has not administered any security advisory at its offices, stores or in its manufacturing units across the country. Also, it seems, they have not toughened the security even. Jain has illustrated about those people demonstrating the product outside the company’s outlets as “fringe elements”.
He also points out that his company was more likely to be Indian when compared to other local Indian handset companies. He made this point with all the relevant data like all of Xiaomi’s smartphones, and most of the company’s smart TVs are manufactured here in India. And, on average, 65% of its components are sourced locally.
Xiaomi is a company with a total local administration and management. It claims to have created employment for 50,000 Indian people.
Manu Kumar Jain also quoted that 100% of the data of Indian users are from those who are staying in India.
Jain states a comparison that some non-Chinese peer competitors, including a ‘US Company’, are importing all their smartphones from China and local Indian brands then relabeling them under their name and selling in India.
As per Counterpoint Research, the Indian smartphone market comprises almost 81% of Chinese brands. The growth of Chinese smartphone manufacturers in India is primarily led by Xiaomi which accounts for nearly one-third of total smartphone shipments in India every quarter. In Q1 2020, Xiaomi shipped 10.1 million smartphones in India and maintained its dominance over arch-rival Samsung.
For the last few days Chinese companies in india are leaving no stone unturned either to lay low or win customers confidence by proving themselves as indian as any other homegrown company. While it’s too early to estimate the affect of anti-china sentiments on Chinese companies in India, the sales of smartphones in Q3 2020 would paint quite a conclusive picture to understand how difficult or easy the market is going to be for Chinese companies in in the near future.