Q. Lot of negative things are heard after you discontinued your much demanded Mi 3. What is your comment on that?
Yes, we sold nearly 90,000 units of Mi3 in just 2 months. And we are getting a lot of demand from the consumers for our recently launched Redmi 1S. We sold nearly 80,000 of Redmi 1S in September. The demand is much higher than expected so in the coming weeks we are going to bring bigger quantities into the Indian market. For those consumers who disappointed after stopped Mi 3, we may bring it back into the Indian market after a few weeks—the decision is pending.
Q. How is your service network performing?
We have total 36 service centers, 2 are our own and 34 are multi-brand partner managed service centers. We want to increase the number of both. We want to add 4 more of our exclusive service centers: one each in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Gurgaon in a month’s time. In the next few months, we want to take exclusive centers to 20 to 30 and multi-brand service centers to 50 to 60. Our service method is based on three evaluation points protect with what kind of problems customers are coming, TAT (average Time Taken to resolve) and how satisfied is the customer at the end. In the exclusive service centers, we are at present trying see that the problems is resolved are 2 hrs and in the 3rd party service centers they should be resolved within a day.
Q. What about the experience centers for the customers?
Our exclusive service centers already serve as experience zones. Then we want to set up a big experience zone in Bangalore, which can take 4 to 6 months.
Q. You are doing business exclusively online. In India, business thru traditional channel is the practice. What is your view on this front?
Yes, though online business is new and small compared to traditional channel, online business is growing very fast. Nowadays even consumers from T2 and T3 cities are showing interest in e-commerce. In fact, it is great facility and platform in those towns where smart devices are not easily available. Secondly, thru online we can save all the costs of a traditional channel, which involves shelling out margins at different levels and the total margin, could be as much as 20-30%. We save that margin and pass it to the end users. Secondly, we are in direct contact with the end user. Here we are getting direct feedback promptly and clearly, whereas in traditional channels feedback is slow because it has to pass thru several levels and often at the end you find mixed noise mixing with the feedback.
Q. Your phones are available not exclusively available on Flipkart; there are also available on other sites. Hugo told us that this problem will be solved soon. Have you sorted out that?
Yes. Some people buy our phones and resell them at slightly higher prices on other sites. We cannot stop them straightaway since reselling is legal in India. Anyway we are thinking about ways to check this trend. What we are doing is we are trying to identify the bulk purchasers see and if they are doing this reselling; when such buyers are found suspicious, we stop further sales to them, although this method cannot check such cases 100%.
Q. What about availability of accessories? Some people complain that they do not receive accessories or receive them late after placing orders online. What are you doing about these issues?
For Mi 3, we had logistics problems so we could not provide accessories on time, but for Redme 1S phones, we are providing accessories in the same week though not on the same day via Flipkart. I interacted with our consumers and they are quite satisfied with Flipkart services. Only the freebie accessories which we offered, along with phones, got delayed while shipping to consumers and this is because these accessories come via a different route which takes a little longer time to reach India.
Q. During our interactions with some competing vendors, they say Xiaomi may be here today and tomorrow they may disappear. What is the answer you would give to your rivals and how do you assure your customers that you will be here for long?
After China, India is our priority market. If we are not going to stay here for long, we would not have set up so many service centers here. Soon we are going set up our R&D center in India. So I assure everybody, including our dear detractors as well as dear customers that we are going to be here for a long time.
Q. How are you doing branding?
We are doing through social media. The beauty of social media is you get feedback straightaway whereas for a TV ad you may not get same kind of replies or feedback. We tell what we want on social media and customer replies back whether he likes it or not. We do not spend on other means of advertising, etc. Two months back when we launched we had less than 10,000 people following us but today we have over 65,000 following us on the facebook. Our fans in the social media place postings, which are read by their friends and contacts and that is how our PR works. Social media and word of mouth are the main means of our reach.
Q. What more will be coming?
Redme Note will be launched in Oct. Some more may be launched before the end of this year, but I cannot commit about them right now.
Q. Since you discontinued Mi 3, people are expecting Mi 4 soon. What do you say about this?
Yes, Mi 4 is 4G-enabled LTE device. India Mi 4 will be an India-specific device. Testing is being done. Once it is ready, we will launch it in India.