We’ve heard plenty of rumors that Xiaomi has essentially given up in the PH, but we’ve heard nothing from the brand themselves. After several readers informed us that Xiaomi’s official service centers have pulled out, we decided to look into the matter ourselves, and things aren’t looking too good for Xiaomi.
First, the website. The last update that we got from the company was back in July of last year, where the company officially unveiled the Mi 4i locally. Since then we haven’t seen or heard anything from Xiaomi from their official channels, despite the company releasing new devices left and right in other markets.
Another worrying sign is the lack of updates from their Facebook page. For a company that relies heavily on both social media and word of mouth to promote products, that’s not a good sign. The last update from Xiaomi’s official Mi Philippines Facebook page was back in November – even during the busy holiday season the Facebook page remained eerily silent, which was our first clue that all wasn’t well with the brand here in the PH. Calling the phone number listed on the Facebook page does nothing.
Remember that exclusive service center that’s supposed to serve as a place to see the products before you order it online? That’s marked in Google as permanently closed. We also contacted Aikontech, the company tapped to offer service and support to Xiaomi products through the numbers listed on the official website of Mi Philippines and they’ve told us that they’re no longer servicing Xiaomi phones. Even Lazada, the retail company that Xiaomi tapped to sell their phones online is no longer showing restraint in listing grey market Xiaomi devices in their search results. When Xiaomi first arrived in the PH, it was difficult, if not impossible, to find Xiaomi devices not released in the PH in their website (probably as a matter of courtesy for the brand).
So what went wrong for Xiaomi? It’s probably too early to tell, but from what we could see, it was their slow reaction to the realities of selling phones in the PH. As a company that made their fortune selling phones purely through online sales channels, Xiaomi relied too heavily on the hype of e-commerce in the PH. Fact is that the buying public is still wary of buying phones online, for a number of reasons (some illogical). The PH buying public still prefer physical retail channels, a fact that Xiaomi was slow to adapt to. It’s a reality that many other brands, including established Chinese rival Huawei, has come to terms with. Huawei has essentially dissolved its Honor brand of phones for the PH, which utilized the same online-only selling strategy that Xiaomi used, and re-badged phones that it thinks will sell in the PH under their main brand.
Despite all of the evidence, there’s still a slim chance that the company may just be gearing up for a re-launch. The PH is still one of the biggest growing markets in the world, something that even Xiaomi, a company that’s making a killing in another developing country, India, can’t ignore.
Xiaomi has yet to respond to our question about their current status in the PH. We’ll update this story as soon as they send word.