Xiaomi is hitting the next phase of its growth in India as it marks its 6th year in its biggest international market rounding up with an employee count crossing the 50,000 mark. That’s exponential growth for a company that isn’t even a decade old on the whole. And this year, it will double down on its premium brand “Mi” in India with more cutting edge products in the smartphone space and smart TV space. The one area which has been ripe for disruption is the notebook space. Xiaomi makes some impressive laptops in China which are the envy of many in international markets even in the US. And if Xiaomi were to launch its Windows-powered laptops in India it could achieve the levels of disruption that it has managed in smartphones and smart TVs. Here’s why:
- Xiaomi’s laptops are well designed and take inspiration from Apple as its earlier smartphones did. From a design point of view, they are also unique as they don’t have any kind of branding on the top lid, which allows for unique forms of customisation which can’t be had on any other Windows notebook, and not even the MacBook Pro or Air by Apple.
- Price is usually a huge play when one buys a laptop. And if one looks at the specifications of the Mi laptops, be it the Mi Notebook Pro or the Mi Notebook Air, users will realise that Xiaomi’s offerings are priced more on the mid-range of the laptop market with high-end specifications that one associates with products like the MacBook Pro or the Dell XPS 13. Xiaomi will again win the market by its value for money quotient.
- Since PCs are more or less commoditised consumer electronics with components coming from the likes of Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Toshiba, Samsung, Western Digital, Seagate, Synaptics and the software coming from Microsoft, there is very little in the form of differentiation that incumbent players can provide to compete with Xiaomi on price. While doing so, Xiaomi can also available the benefits of its supply chain and retail online and offline.
- Xiaomi could also leverage its partner Qualcomm which has announced new ARM-based chipsets for Windows called the Snapdragon 8C and 7C, in addition to the more high-end 8CX, which could spawn a new breed of connected PCs with LTE embedded. Considering India is the most affordable place in the world for mobile data, this could be a power move.
- Xiaomi’s weakness has been cracking into corporate workflows because of its Chinese heritage. While that may be true, Xiaomi has also managed to stay away from the type of scrutiny that Huawei has attracted. Considering China-based Lenovo is already the largest seller of PCs in the world, it could attain a beachhead in B2B space with its powerful offerings that are based on Windows. This would have a great blowback towards its smartphones, TVs and other categories.
- Xiaomi would be able to use the Redmi model using its Mi NoteBooks which would make it a formidable competitor to the likes of Dell, Lenovo and HP, especially in categories which drive the bulk of the volume.