Xiaomi Mi 5
Xiaomi Mi 5

It is no secret that world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer and a self-proclaimed alternative to Apple phones in China, Xiaomi, has its eyes on the Pakistani market. The brand has already created much hype among smartphone fans who are eager to get hold of feature-rich devices at much cheaper rates for which the Chinese manufacturer enjoys a reputation.

It was scheduled to hit the shelves in Pakistan well before December 2016; however, people privy to the subject have confirmed that Xiaomi has yet to impress a major reseller (distributor) in Pakistan.

Sources at Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) confirmed that after a prior non-compliance, Xiaomi had received the type approval for 3 of its popular smartphones including Mi 4i, Mi Max, and Mi5 through  Haier Mobiles, Cheezmall, and Daraz as it’s ‘to-be’ distributors. Latest reports suggest that none of them is willing to make any final commitment with the company.

An official of Haier Mobile stated on the condition of anonymity that the policies which Xiaomi intends to implement in the country are not commercially feasible for any major reseller.

“They are very successful in selling phones online, but same is not the culture in Pakistan as of yet. Picking up right business partners is very critical in mobile phone business here; however, the Chinese company is talking to almost everyone in pursuit to build a network of multiple small resellers who could closely work which is no way feasible for any of the partners”, the official added.

Xiaomi has reportedly refused to provide the marketing budgets as well as customer support for which it expects the local partners to invest.

“Although, they are significant and successful in other markets, but Pakistani mobile phone industry is marketing driven where products are usually sold after having endorsed by famous celebrities. How we can invest without support”, the official went on talking about the reluctance.

Cheezmall, on the other hand, has already faced the brunt after experimenting with introducing Zouk mobile in Pakistan which did nothing exciting but met with a failure.

Sources have confirmed that Cheezmall is also in a state of limbo as Xiaomi has also tilted towards various smaller retailers in the market who are more than anxious to launch the phones in January 2017 along with Xiaomi accessories.

A leading wholesaler privy to the matter confirmed that Xiaomi has this plan to create a consortium of multiple retailers for pooling in enough budget to kick off with the launch. But the model is less likely to work due to budget constraint and absence of technical knowledge on the part of retailers for handling a global brand.

A recent report by ProPakistani also hinted the impact of a dual policy as a result of which many fake Xiaomi sites and Facebook pages popped up on the internet on the pretext of similar commitments with dozens of local retailers.

Pakistani smartphone market is undergoing a significant shift where Chinese smartphone companies have just started to change the dynamics. Oppo, another Chinese phone makers, had taken the rivals by surprise when it imported nearly 38,000 phones in Pakistan in September 2016.

Xiaomi, if lands successfully in Pakistan, with their elegantly designed smartphones, can give tough competition in the mobile phone industry. Their smartphones will be directly competing with Huawei and OPPO in Pakistan, which are also Chinese companies. The three companies belonging to the same home country China has fierce competition back home. Huawei tops the Chinese market with the number one spot and then follows Xiaomi with the second lead. The company is growing rapidly in the global market and is set to make a debut at CES 2017, the world’s largest tech tradeshow.