After outcompeting Samsung in the Indian market last year-end to become the largest smartphone brand, China’s Xiaomi, is now on another mission to yet again challenge Samsung’s current dominance in Indonesia, the most populous country in the Southeast Asia region.
Xiaomi’s meteoric rise to the near dominance position in Indonesia was propelled by a staggering 1455% yearly growth in Q1 of 2018, comparing to Samsung’s moderate 17.2% same period growth, per global technology market analyst firm – Canalys.
Xiaomi and Samsung now owns 18.3% and 25.5% of the Indonesia smartphone market respectively.
Additionally, Chinese smartphone vendors now make up 3 of the top 5 brands in Indonesia, with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo being ranked at 2, 3 (16.5 mkt shr) and 4 (6.5%).
Earlier this month, Beijing-based Xiaomi has launched ambitious plans to raise funds in Hong Kong. The upcoming IPO, size not yet decided but rumored to be at a US$ 100b valuation, was expected to be the largest tech IPO since the floation of Alibaba in the U.S. four years ago.
Although according to a recent Bloomberg article, there were doubts about the firm’s lofty valuation figures given the complexity of the company’s wide variety of business.
Journey to the west
Previously, Xiaomi has been very cautious in its westward journey. Only an online accessory store was launched in the United States and major European countries in June 2015. The choice of Spain as the first entry into Europe was backed by fans following the Mi community.
With confidence boosted up from the success in two of the most populous markets in Asia, and a war chest to be loaded in an imminent public fund raising, Xiaomi also starts to make inroads into the Western market in a braver fashion.
Xiaomi just signed up a deal with a high-profile European distribution partner – CK Hutchinson. This partnership with the parent company of Three and several retailers, will allow Xiaomi access to hundreds of millions of customers immediately across Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and UK, while Xiaomi’s high quality and well designed products will be a hit with the same young, tech-savvy and price sensitive customer group of CK Hutchinson, generating a win-win strategy, as cited by Techradar.
In a NDTV report, Tom Malleschitz, Three UK chief digital office also said ‘’We have been watching Xiaomi’s success from afar and are impressed with huge range connected devices that they currently offer’’, further supporting the recent partnership.
A recent Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has also been issued to Xiaomi on May 11,2018, with validity till December 2023 – opening the door for the company to push their smartphones to Europe aggressively, reflecting the commitment on its expansion in the region.
Xiaomi’s ambitions of weaning itself off dependence on a saturated domestic market via new market expansions into Europe, Southeast Asia and Russia, as cited by Techcrunch, looks to be materializing rapidly. It is also noteworthy to mention that Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has hinted of intentions to enter United States as early as end 2018.
We would expect with the confidence from the achievements in India and Indonesia, money to be grabbed from IPO and matching market disruptor partner – Hutchison’s support, Xiaomi would have both more courage and a firmer war chest to expedite its westward journey.