Xiaomi Disrupts the Indian TV Market

Rival TV Makers Should Prepare for Stormy Times

Xiaomi’s decision to launch its Mi Smart TV 4 in India last month will make waves in the country’s television market. It was the first time the company released its TVs outside China. Now Xiaomi is hoping to disrupt the Indian market with one of the thinnest LED TVs available. The move comes after the maker took the top spot in the Indian smartphone market by surpassing Samsung in 2017.

Manu Jain, vice president and managing director of Xiaomi India, said that the TV market is the second largest consumer electronics category in the country after smartphones, and believes it offers a significant opportunity for the company to further establish itself.

Xiaomi entered India in 2014 with the release of its Redmi series of smartphones. The handsets received rave reviews among India’s press and bloggers, which boosted sales. Indian consumers lapped up the smartphones, taking advantage of Xiaomi’s exclusive online flash sales. It took the manufacturer less than four years to beat Samsung to the top of the market, something that had been unthinkable. We estimate that Xiaomi had about a quarter of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Mi TV 4 is one of the slimmest LED TVs available, measuring just 4.99 millimetres at its thinnest point. This is the fourth-generation TV first showcased at CES 2017. The device is powered by a 64-bit quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. It features Dolby audio, and the sound output has been streamlined with DTS and 20W dome speakers specifically for this market. The TV comes pre-installed with several hours of free content. Xiaomi has collaborated with several local partners to bring content in 15 Indian languages. The device has a 55-inch frame-less display and is equipped with 4K. It’s priced at just under 40,000 rupees (about $617).

The TV went on sale through Indian e-commerce site Flipkart and Xiaomi’s Mi.com platform, selling out in just 10 seconds. All subsequent flash sales for the TVs have been sold out in minutes.

This week, Xiaomi is introducing two more TVs in its Mi TV 4A series. They come in 32-inch and 43-inch size variants and are priced at about 23,000 and 14,000 rupees, respectively. The company is banking heavily on online channels Flipkart and Mi.com as well as its flagship Mi Home stores to push sales. The Mi TV 4A will be released on 13 March 2018 through flash sales events held weekly.

Xiaomi surprised rivals early by creating excitement and value, as it has done in other markets. It has wisely signed partnerships with local content providers. We believe Xiaomi has already shown that it can disrupt the Indian TV market segment in a similar way it did with smartphones. The company appears to realise the importance of providing good after-sales service to keep its momentum going; it has made a concerted effort to establish its service centres and has forged alliances with retail stores in tier-one and tier-two cities in India.

Rivals in the Indian TV space such as LG and Samsung should be aware of Xiaomi’s track record. There’s no reason to doubt the company will bring its marketing and product skills from small hand-held screens to larger displays in people’s living rooms.

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