What to expect now that Xiaomi is back in the Philippines
Xiaomi is officially back in the Philippines, and they’re bringing with them not just smartphones, but other things as well, including brick-and-mortar shops. During the official Philippine launch of the Redmi 5 Plus and Redmi 5A, we sat down with Xiaomi’s Regional Director, John Chen, to learn more about the company’s plans for the Philippines.
Xiaomi’s arrival and return to the Philippines
Xiaomi first entered the Philippine market in 2014 and brought with them two bang-for-the-buck devices, the Mi 3 and Redmi 1S. At that time, the company relied on selling their devices online via Lazada and had a number of successful flash sales.
It was short-lived though, as their last smartphone release in the country was the Mi 4i in 2015. They went silent in the country for the rest of 2016, without any new activity on their Facebook page and official website.
Since they stopped selling devices in the Philippines, resellers filled the demand for these products and sold imported Xiaomi devices online and offline. Meanwhile, Xiaomi concentrated their efforts in other markets like China and India.
Fast forward to the present, Xiaomi is back in the Philippines with a new strategy. According to John Chen, Xiaomi has learned from their mistakes in the Chinese market and realized that they need offline channels in addition to their online presence. The company then invested in their offline business called the “New Retail” which implements the same price for products sold online and offline.
Partnership with Grimalkin for Authorized Mi Stores
As part of their plan to put up offline stores in the country, Xiaomi partnered with Grimalkin Corporation and launched the First Mi Authorized Store in Trinoma on February 17, 2018. The second Mi Authorized Store will open in SM Megamall on March 17, 2018.
“We are delighted to work with Xiaomi to bring its innovative products back to our shores,” said Mr. Terence Chua, President of Grimalkin Corporation. “With excellent quality and honest prices, we hope that everyone can enjoy Xiaomi’s smartphones and ecosystem products as much as we have enjoyed working with Xiaomi to bring them to you.”
Mi Specialized Stores
Xiaomi encourages dealers in the Philippines who want to sell Mi devices to source their inventories from Grimalkin to assure that Xiaomi units are region-specific and have the full manufacturer’s warranty.
Don’t expect Mi Stores to just pop out everywhere though, as Xiaomi will only select a number of partner dealers in key locations so that these shops can get the most customers as possible in their respective areas. They will be called Mi Specialized Stores and will be authorized to display Xiaomi logo in their shops and are expected to follow the Xiaomi’s rules, believe in the company’s philosophy, and serve their customers correctly.
Xiaomi will list on their website the Mi Specialized Stores and authorized stores in the country.
Partnership with Lazada and Shopee for online
Customers can still buy Xiaomi products online and have put up official pages on Lazada with Shopee coming soon. Xiaomi strongly recommends that customers only buy their products on official pages to make sure it has an official warranty and correct pricing.
Their online shops on Lazada and Shopee will also carry the non-smartphone products that are found in offline stores, except for select devices that Xiaomi believes are better sold offline, like IoT (Internet of Things), as it gives them the opportunity to demonstrate it to customers who are unfamiliar of the technology.
Xiaomi believes that there wouldn’t be any competition between their offline and online stores and are expected to grow together. These stores also work together to provide customers with a better shopping experience, like allowing them to test the products offline in partner stores then buy them online for convenience, or check the details online before making the purchase offline.
“Lazada is a proud partner of Xiaomi in many markets in Southeast Asia,” said Ray Alimurung, Chief Business Officer for Brands and Retail, Lazada. “We are thrilled to help this global technology leader bring its various devices to the Philippine public. We believe in their philosophy of making innovation accessible to everyone.”
Warranty and Service Centers
Like with any officially sold devices in the country, Xiaomi products bought from official channels will have a 1-year warranty and will have special stickers on them to help prove authenticity. Xiaomi will also put up Authorized Service Partners (ASP) and drop-off points where users can bring their units that need diagnostics or repairs. ASPs will also accept Xiaomi devices that don’t have manufacturer’s warranty but will charge fees for services like labor and parts. A list of service partners will also be published on Xiaomi’s local website and social media channels.
The current plan is to have five Mi Authorized Stores in the country, consisting of three in Manila, with the possibility of one in Cebu and one in Davao. The number of stores could increase depending on the demand and momentum. Xiaomi’s official Philippine website will also be reactivated.
What products are we going to get in the future?
As you have noticed, Xiaomi is now offering Mi Ecosystem products and other non-smartphone devices in their offline stores. This is to provide customers with new products that encourage them to check out the store every now and then.
As for the arrival of new devices, especially smartphones, Chen says that it is faster now and the Philippine market can start receiving the units one or two months after the announcement. This means we can expect the upcoming Mi Mix 2S to hit our shores soon. Some products though, like those from the Mi Ecosystem, may not arrive if they’re made specifically for other markets.
(Left to Right) Ray Alimurung, Chief Business Officer for Brands and Retail, Lazada; John Chen, Director for Southeast Asia, Xiaomi; Joyce Borlagdan, Brand Manager, Grimalkin Corporation
To sum it up, Xiaomi is back in the Philippines and they’re better than ever. They now have physical shops, more product offerings, and a new business strategy. “Our online store will help Xiaomi products reach the farthest corners of the Philippine archipelago, while brick-and-mortar shops will help us connect with those who want to touch and feel the products before they buy,” said Chen. “All official channels will offer products with official warranties so consumers will have peace-of-mind with every purchase of Xiaomi products.”