Xiaomi’s clamping down on unofficial channels
Despite Xiaomi’s absence in the Philippine market, there’s never been a dearth of their products locally, thanks to unofficial grey market and parallel importers. With their re-entry into the country, Xiaomi and its partners are now facing stiff competition from other, unauthorized channels for their smartphones.
It’s a big challenge for Xiaomi, but John Chen, Overseas Business Development Manager for Xiaomi shared a solution for that problem. According to him, Xiaomi’s now put in blocks that prevents people from flashing phones bought from the mainland with Global ROMs, which has been one of the methods that grey market sellers have employed in the past.
“In the past, many people got the products from China and they needed to refresh the ROM. It was much easier, but now we’ve done some internal restrictions so that there’s only selected people that we allow to refresh the ROM,” he said.
“If you try to refresh the ROM from the Chinese version to the overseas version, you’ll need to have a password otherwise you cannot refresh the ROM. This guarantees that most of the people who cannot get the access to the password will not be able to refresh the image anymore,” he added.
That doesn’t stop grey market sellers from selling Chinese versions of Xiaomi’s phones, but obviously these phones won’t have access to Google Play Services and most of the things that make Android great on this side of the globe.
And while Xiaomi will be accepting phones not bought from authorized channels to be serviced and repaired, they will be charging a fee for any kind of work required on them. Those two things, combined with timely releases, the promise of price matching and the official warranty makes buying from grey market sellers even less enticing than ever before.