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Even just five years ago, Xiaomi looked very different from the way it does today. From a simple tech startup to the Apple of China, Xiaomi’s growth has been pretty impressive, to say the least. Now, according to Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, China’s largest privately funded startup has ambitious plans to dramatically expand its offline presence: from 25 Xiaomi stores right now to 1,000 stores by 2020.

Not too long ago, Xiaomi was a brand not well-known outside China, but within years, the Chinese company took off to be one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world. With its beautifully-crafted handsets that cost less than $400, it makes sense that Xiaomi saw the huge success it did.

Xiaomi, like most Chinese smartphone manufacturers, operates its smartphone sales largely via online channels, but according to Xiaomi’s CEO, things might be changing in the future:

We want consumers to touch and test our products with the core technologies in the stores. We have adapted our strategies… Xiaomi will open 1,000 stores by 2020.

According to Shanghai Daily, Xiaomi currently has 25 stores across China, which offer products ranging from smartphones, televisions, water purifiers, electric cookers among others. Although Lei hasn’t specified where this offline expansion would take place, our guess is it will be primarily targeted at its home turf.

Xiaomi’s strategy has long been an online-specific one, but with growing competition from fellow Chinese tech companies, it may not have any other choice but to invest in offline presence. For instance, Huawei boasts over 10,000 stores across China.

With reports estimating a 38% year-over-year decrease in its smartphone shipments in China this past quarter, Xiaomi certainly would benefit from increasing its brand recognition by providing more experience stores. Also, this may prove itself to be a good foundational step for its reported entrance into the US market. In a market where online sales are almost non-existent but everything is done through carriers, Xiaomi’s limited experience may pose as a huge obstacle.

Do you think Xiaomi’s increasing its offline presence will be its saving grace? Why do you think people are choosing Huawei over Xiaomi? Let us know your thoughts down below!