Chinese smartphone marker Xiaomi, which currently sells handsets in India only through online portals, will soon make them available in stores. The company is partnering with Redington (India) Ltd to distribute mobile phones "across organised and unorganised channels in the country," said Manu Jain, India operations head at Xiaomi.
In the beginning, the company plans to sell smartphones through 1,000-1,500 stores across 15 south Indian cities. Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mysore and Visakhapatnam are some of the cities in which Xiaomi's mobiles will be available in stores.
Without giving further details on the new strategy, the company said that it would conduct offline sales on a "commission-based model." "We are experimenting with a new sales channel and getting into general trade to increase our reach and to make our products available more easily," Jain told Mint.
Xiaomi will implement the offline sales strategy in phases, with the first phase being expected to happen in the coming 45-60 days. The company aims to have a pan-India offline presence by 2016.
Since its entry into the Indian market last year, the company has been selling smartphones through online marketplace Flikpart and later launched its own online portal, Mi.com.
But, foraying into offline sales is expected to pressurise profit margins. "The cost of doing offline business is of course higher... the margins will be affected but not much," Jain said.
The company said that the latest move to sell smartphones offline will not have an effect on "Xiaomi's pricing in India." "We will not pass on the cost to consumers. We determine our product's prices by keeping the online sales channel in mind," Jain said.
The company is expected to see offline sales in India accounting for 25-30 percent of its total sales.