Xiaomi has launched its long-awaited television Mi TV 4 in India for Rs 39,999, a move that will pitch the Chinese tech major against the likes of Samsung and Sony.
India is the first market outside of China, where Xiaomi has introduced its televisions. In India, Xiaomi currently sells smartphones, air purifiers and mobile accessories like power banks and earphones among others.
“India is a very important market for us and within a very short time, we have been able to capture significant market share in the smartphone market… TV is a big category after smartphones for Xiaomi and in China, we are the fastest growing TV brand. It is also one of the toughest segments,” said Xiaomi India MD Manu Jain.
He added that some features of the televisions have been customised for Indian consumers. “Right now we are importing the TVs. We can look at local manufacturing if there is enough volume. It would also be important to find a partner who can make these televisions as maintaining quality is essential,” he said.
Jain explained that the television market in India is at a similar stage as smartphones category was 2-3 years ago. “About 10% televisions in India are sold online. The number of smart TVs in this is even smaller. If you see, smartphone category in India was at a similar stage a few years ago,” he said.
The 55-inch Mi LED TV is 4.9mm thick with a frameless design for an immersive viewing experience. The company has partnered with players like Hungama, Voot, ALT Balaji, Zee5 and Sony LIV along others to bring in over 500,000 hours of content. The Mi LED TV will go on sale on Flipkart, Mi Homes (offline retail stores) and Mi.com from February 22.
“We are looking at building an ecosystem. The work on bringing television to Indian market started two years ago and the first concrete step in that direction was when we acquired a stake in Hungama. We are looking at monetising our software (like ads on Mi browser) and content partnerships,” he added.
Xiaomi has also developed PatchWall, an operating system for smart televisions to connect to set-top boxes of multiple kinds.
Talking about the phones, Jain said the company witnessed a strong performance last year and will ensure that the momentum continues this year. The company has displaced longtime leader Samsung as the top smartphone vendor in India, according to multiple research firms.
“We are excited to kick off 2018 with three exciting products. 2017 was an incredible year for Xiaomi India and we will work endlessly to make 2018 just as exciting,” he said.
On Wednesday, Xiaomi launched next generation of its Note smartphones – Redmi Note 5and Redmi Note 5 Pro – in India. The Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro features full-screen display (18:9 display ratio), with prices starting at Rs 9,999.
Jain said, both the devices feature powerful Snapdragon processors and have features and camera specifications at very competitive prices.