Xiaomi has come a long way in a very short time. Founded in 2010 in China, Xiaomi was the world's fifth largest smartphone maker by 2015 and continues to hold this lofty rating. But it's not just smartphones that Xiaomi wants to be known for; laptops, mobile apps, TVs, audio equipment, and smart devices for the home (including drones) are part of the ever-increasing Xiaomi product catalogue. For all this variety, it is the smartphone market that drives revenue for this privately owned electronics company; a few years ago, it was estimated that a staggering 94% of its revenue was derived from smartphones sales, which certainly outstrips better known brands such as Apple or Samsung.
Xiaomi is renowned for its aggressive pricing, and being able to market products of a good quality at an affordable price. The reasons for being able to deliver such affordable electronics include: limited stock availability, including flash sales, which means storage and maintenance costs associated with excess inventory are greatly reduced. A virtually zero marketing and advertising budget, instead relying heavily on word of mouth and social media for publicity. Generous founding partners, including mobile processor giant Qualcomm, who sell their products to Xiaomi at a greatly reduced rate - again, this saving is passed onto the consumer. A heavy reliance on online sales, rather than selling through traditional retail outlets, another great money saver. Bricks and mortar stores have since been established, yet it is too early to say how this will affect prices. Finally, Xiaomi's business model relies very much on selling in great volume, but at a lower profit margin. When your primary market is as large as China, maintaining this high-volume business model is achievable, and even more so as Xiaomi expands into other major markets, most notably in India.
Things like flash sales and building a strong online community of followers provides loads of priceless publicity for Xiaomi in its prime Asian market. The online connection between company and consumer is, apparently, mutually beneficial. Consumer input into how products can be improved are often embraced by Xiaomi; they have a reputation for taking this input to their engineers, who have been known to implement those suggestions, sometimes within weeks! It's little wonder that upgraded products are regularly being released by Xiaomi.
For all this publicity, which is low-cost yet generally positive, the brand is still not that well-known in the western marketplace, but this is slowly changing. This increasing profile is due to Xiaomi's reputation for selling good quality products at relatively low prices. This has bred a natural curiosity from a growing number of consumers, keen to discover how high-quality electronics can still be so affordable. This has had something of a snowball effect; as chatter surrounding Xiaomi gets louder and louder, the upshot is increased visibility and awareness in the consumer realm...and in the competitive electronics market, being talked about in a good way has to be beneficial for business.