Xiaomi’s global VP Hugo Barra claims the company’s fresh brand will give it an edge over better known rivals as it moves into new markets.
“It’s one thing to have a well-known brand, but it’s another thing to have a brand everyone is tired of, especially when targeting the early adopters,” he said.
Barra, speaking Tuesday on a panel discussion on content at Mobile World Congress, noted that Xiaomi doesn’t spend on above-the-line or below-the-line advertising and goes direct to customers as much as possible.
“We generally don’t spend any money on buying media. All of our conversations are via social media and is pretty much organic. We also avoid intermediaries as much as possible, which can be up to 30 per cent of gross margins. That’s a fortune relative to the margins we look at,” he said.
“We have very few products – just two smartphones per year — which gives us greater economies of scale at the production level and the ability to keep costs down.”
Its weekly beta software updates, based on input from its large beta community, is something he said that “best defines us” and shows the company’s commitment to continually improving the customer experience.
It has built up a beta track of 10 per cent of its over 100 million user base worldwide, most of which use its devices. Every Friday it pushes out software updates. He said it takes a few weeks for a change to move from the beta to the “stable” track.
He said Xiaomi does something similar with its hardware updates.
With the absence of Apple and Google in the app store space in China, it has had some success in the mainland. It is ranked about number three. “It’s the Wild West there because there is no App Store or Google Play, but we have no plans to take that outside of China, because we’re working with Google as a Google Mobile Services partner.”