‘Premium phones sell really well in Nepal’

Published On: October 23, 2019 10:59 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Xiaomi is one of the fastest growing smartphone brands in Nepal. It officially entered Nepal in October 2018, and has been seeing unprecedented growth ever since. Sujeeta Pradhan of Republica talked to Sourabh Kohtari, country general manager of Xiaomi Nepal, to know more about the brand and its future plans. Excerpts:

How is the Nepali market for Xiaomi?
We just celebrated Nepal's biggest festival. Our sales grew really well in the whole of Nepal during Dashain due to competitive pricing. It's all about growth in the Nepali market.

Frankly saying, I found Nepal market quite different than India market. Nepali consumers look for great value in phone. Getting better performance is more important for Nepalis than price. People here will buy phone if they like it even if it is higher than their budget. 

You said the Nepali market is different compared to India. Could you please elaborate more? 
Phones which are doing best in Nepal will do only, say 10%, in India. The reason is people in Nepal are ready to expand their budget if they like the phone. In India, budget is really important and buyers there stick on their budget and often buy low-priced rather than going out of their budget. Expensive and premium phones sell really well in Nepal.

Who do you think is your main competitor in Nepal?
I have been in this industry for almost six years now and I feel it is the most competitive industry. The technology changes every five-six months and product lineup changes within short period of time. You have to be on your toes and every day is very exciting. 

Our competition is with no one. In Xiaomi, we compete with ourselves to try to build phone on best price range and make it better with every new launch. 

What are Xiaomi's focus areas in Nepal?
We sell smartphones in 70 countries all over the world, and Nepal is very different than global market. Nepal is offline-centric market. As 99% of sales in Nepal happens offline, we are focusing more on offline channel to enhance our distribution network and maintain our price range along with retailer satisfaction. 

Could you please shed light on Mi fans?
Mi fans are the core of Xiaomi's existence. The biggest concept that we think of is Mi fans. Mi fans are those people who try our products and give honest opinion about our products. We take their reviews really seriously. Mi fans try our products and give their feedbacks. We study their feedbacks and make necessary improvements before taking our products in the market. We have Mi fans all over the world.

How has been Xiaomi's journey in Nepal so far?
We officially launched Xiaomi in Nepal in October last year. We have recorded growth of nearly 300% since then. Our distribution has become very intense and pricing also has become affordable. We have service centers all over Nepal. Obviously we focus on our offline channel. But still we are the number one in online. 

What do you think Nepali users look for in a smartphone?
I think looks matter a lot for Nepali people and camera is also important. People look for good looking phones and we are building phones as per the desire of Nepali market. There are also PUBG fans in Nepal who look for devices with good processor. 

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