Xiaomi has forgone its custom of showing what number of smartphones it bought the earlier yr. The strategy yielded many headlines for the extremely-regarded Chinese language outfit, however in the present day its CEO admitted that Xiaomi has been in transition after rising “too fast”.
The writing was on the playing cards, even as early as January 2016 when Xiaomi revealed it had sold “over 70 million” devices in 2015. A powerful quantity, for positive, given the backdrop of slowing smartphone sales worldwide, nevertheless it was in need of the company’s public goal of 80 million, which was lowered from an preliminary 100 million.
It’s been pretty evident from analyst studies that 2016 wasn’t a yr for blockbuster Xiaomi progress. Whereas it featured close to the prime of the sales pile in China, and held regular in India, its prime rising market, there was no nice acceleration as in previous years. For instance, sales jumped from 7.2 million in 2012, to 18.7 million in 2013 and 61 million in 2014.
A Xiaomi rep confirmed to us that the company won’t be disclosing its 2016 sales numbers.
That’s to be anticipated in some ways. Not solely is explosive progress onerous to take care of, however the traits that set Xiaomi aside from the competitors — its use of components and online-solely sales platform — have been extensively mimicked and copied throughout the mobile business. Meaning it trades primarily on its model, a troublesome ask when you’re promoting ‘reasonably priced’ units and Apple is the most fascinating smartphone in China by some mile.
However Xiaomi didn’t assist itself too, by making daring predictions and hammering house the PR on its progress. CEO and co-founder Lei Jung admitted at the moment that usually it had moved too shortly.
“In the first few years, we pushed forward too fast. We created a miracle, but in addition drew on some lengthy-time period progress,” Lei stated in a letter to staff. “So we’ve got to decelerate, additional enhance in some areas, and guarantee sustainable progress for an extended-time period future.”
It isn’t clear if Lei’s thesis extends to Xiaomi’s valuation, which reached $45 billion courtesy of a $1.1 billion funding round in December 2014. Many pundits really feel that Xiaomi has done little to justify that tag since then.
Regardless of the trustworthy admission, the tone of his letter is upbeat. Lei informed Xiaomi’s employees that the “troublesome occasions are behind us.”
Whereas Xiaomi hasn’t revealed these sales figures, it did push out a variety of enterprise metrics that it hopes illustrate how it’s rising as a company that goes past merely promoting smartphones, which it recently admitted it makes no profit on.
Lei made the following reveals in his letter:
- Xiaomi reached $1 billion in annual income in India for the first time
- Xiaomi’s offline shops handed RMB 100 million ($14.5 million) in GMV this yr — the company makes use of GMV as a result of it sells companion merchandise so this income doesn’t go completely to Xiaomi
- Xiaomi’s ‘Mi Ecosystem’ has 50 million related units — which incorporates smart TVs, health trackers and extra — which introduced in RMB 15 billion ($2.2 billion) in sales
- Xiaomi has utilized for 16,000 patents globally, 3,612 of which have been granted to date
- Xiaomi’s income from “web providers” doubled in 2016 — it didn’t present a determine however, based mostly on a Reuters report from 2015, it seems to have surpassed $1 billion for the first time
Right here’s the fascinating a part of what Lei stated, he needs to push on and see Xiaomi improvement its offline retail arm. That’s proper, the company that pioneered the online-solely mannequin is trying to brick and mortar sales.
Lei stated Xiaomi has to purpose wider as a result of its present distribution mannequin is restricted, however you would definitely add ‘stiffer competitors’ as one other issue:
Our e-commerce strategy has additionally confronted some challenges. E-commerce now makes up simply over 10 % of general retail in China, and the online smartphone market solely makes up 20 % of the general smartphone market. Xiaomi has nice ambitions, and we aren’t glad with simply being an e-commerce smartphone model, so we now have to upgrade our retail mannequin, and incorporate offline retail for a new retail strategy.
He said his perception that the company’s “web providers” income mannequin has been proved and presumably scaling the attain of its merchandise is the subsequent step to constructing on that progress and elevating that income.
Past increasing its retail presence, Xiaomi plans to focus on creating synthetic intelligence — which it has deployed in face detection techniques — growing its international presence, and creating fintech options in 2017. The company already offers its own Apple Pay rival and is preparing to launch a digital bank service in China, too.
Whereas there’s no goal for handset sales, Lei Jun stated his “humble objective” for the yr is to succeed in RMB 100 billion ($14.5 billion) in income.