India stands out on Xiaomi’s dial pad

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China’s smartphone maker Xiaomi, which does not see much impact of the current ‘anti-China’ sentiment on the company’s India business, expects production in India to return to normal capacity by next month.

Xiaomi India MD Manu Jain said Foxconn had already received nod from the Andhra Pradesh Government for the Sri City plant [where Xiaomi phones would be made] and would soon start production.

“We hope all of our manufacturing plants will soon get approval… of course, with all kinds of precautions in factories, the ramp up is going to be slow, but we are hoping the factories will be up and running very soon,” Mr. Jain said.

Muralikrishnan B, chief operating officer, Xiaomi India, added the component supply chain was “quite smooth” and was not a challenge at all. “The challenge, if any, will only be in terms of manpower where with proper safety and hygiene procedures and social distancing at the assembly line, we should be able to resume production pretty soon.”

Xiaomi, which is resuming handset sales in India both via offline and online channels, will currently cater to demand in green and orange zones. It also announced its new offline-to-online solution called ‘Mi Commerce’ for its retail partners.

To a query on the anti-China sentiment, Mr Jain said, “Yes, I’ve seen it on social media… will it impact our India business? I don’t think so… We are as Indian as any other firm. We have manufacturing plants here. We have our product teams, R&D teams here… all our servers are local servers. We have been able to generate employment for 50,000 people…”

Mr. Jain added that while currently there may be a negative sentiment because people are angry and upset about the situation, and want to blame somebody, “but over a period of time, I think people will understand…from a long term perspective…will not take it against any particular company…personally I don’t think this way in fact of business in any meaningful way.”

On demand, Mr. Jain said the Indian smartphone industry is likely to bounce back in Q3 and Q4 of the current year. Citing analyst estimates, he said smartphone sales are likely to be 135-145 million in the current calendar year against pre-COVID estimates of 160-170 million.

“The interesting thing is analysts expect Q3 and Q4 to be at a similar level as what they had forecast. Of course, Q2 there is going to be a decline because the last 45 days have already gone by, without any revenue, without any sales. And even now, the ramp is going to be slow because there are a large number of red zones, there are a lot of restrictions.”

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