Update: according to official figures, Xiaomi sold 4,000 units in 17 minutes.
Xiaomi’s first phone in Malaysia went out of stock in less than 20 minutes, but that’s not the most important bit.
Xiaomi started selling the $280 Mi3 in Malaysia on May 20th and their web store ran out of units in less than 20 minutes. There isn’t any official statement yet from Xiaomi regarding the actual number of phones sold, but according to some who attended their press event a day earlier, Xiaomi was preparing around 4000 Mi3s for the launch day. Even though this number might seem low, it is still pretty impressive, since Xiaomi is yet to bring their best selling Redmi to the country.
Xiaomi held a press and fan meet up-event at Kuala Lumpur’s G Tower on May 19th. At the event, Hugo Barra and Xiaomi’s President, Lin Bin, took to the stage and mentioned a number of key points.
First of all, the reason the Redmi was not made available is because the successor, the Redmi 1S, will be launched next month.
The new model will come with a Snapdragon 400 processor instead of the Mediatek quad core chip that powered its predecessor. Due to Mediatek’s policy regarding source codes, Redmi/Hongmi owners have not been able to enjoy regular OTA updates that other Xiaomi phones are famous for. Switching to a Qualcomm chip should, in theory, help to alleviate this problem.
The more important bits though, were the following:
- Xiaomi now has four authorized service centers in Malaysia, with more to come
- Xiaomi is working with Malaysian telcos Celcom, Digi, and Maxis to offfer Xiaomi phones to a wider audience. Maxis is Malaysia’s largest cellular operator while Digi saw one of the biggest growth among Malaysian telcos in 2013.
One of Xiaomi’s biggest challenges in their bid to succeed outside China is the lack of brick and mortar presence. In Malaysia, Xiaomi showed glimpses of how they are going to tackle this issue.
Cooperating with local carriers will help Xiaomi put its products on display at each telco’s outlets in electronic malls throughout the country which, in turn, will increase the brand’s visibility among the non tech-savvy part of the population.
Furthermore, in South-East Asia, as in many other emerging markets, carriers don’t generally provide after-sales service. Availability of locally accessible service outlets is still one of the deciding factors to many consumers. Having four service centers up and running from day one is an indication that Xiaomi is on the right track.
Following Malaysia, Xiaomi is going to expand to India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, and the Philippines. If your country’s on the list, you can expect to see Xiaomi taking similar steps as it did in Malaysia.