Xiaomi Corp going offline with China Unicom

Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi Corp has teamed up with the country’s second-largest telecom carrier, China United Network Communications Group (China Unicom) to expand its offline retailing channels.
Xiaomi, which has been facing declining shipments and mounting competition from such rivals as Oppo Electronics, this week launched its custom-made smartphone Redmi 3X. With a large battery and a 13-megapixel rear-camera, the phone is being sold for 899 yuan (US$136) through China Unicom’s 30,000 offline stores and more than 230,000 brick-and-mortar retailing partners.
Xiaomi CEO/founder Lei Jun says that so far more than two-thirds of the company’s smartphones have been sold through eCommerce platforms and the company’s official website.
“The proportion of online sales is too big,” he says. “To maintain the rapid growth we have seen in the past four years, expanding offline retailing channels becomes the key.”
Xiaomi and China Unicom will also expand their co-operation beyond handsets to such products as Xiaomi TV, routers and air purifiers.
The move fits into China Unicom’s broad efforts to transform its abundant on-ground stores into a big retailing platform of various electronic products, says deputy-GM Xiong Yu.
Xiaomi said earlier this year it would open 200 to 300 retail stores, while its major rival Lenovo Group also said it would expand its offline retailing presence, described by senior vice-president Chen Xudong as the key to surviving intense competition.
In the first quarter of this year, Oppo and Vivo made their way into the world’s top-five ranking of smartphone vendors for the first time, pushing out Xiaomi and Lenovo.

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