BEIJING, China — Chinese tech firm Xiaomi plans to flood the world with 2,000 new stores within the next three years, a company executive told CNBC.
Half of those shops will be opened overseas with partners and the other half will be owned and operated by Xiaomi in China, and it’s all part of the company’s big ambitions to keep growing abroad, said senior vice president Wang Xiang, who oversees the firm’s global strategy. In the next few years, “we will definitely be a global player,” he said.
“You will see us in almost every country,” Wang projected.
Beijing-based Xiaomi started out selling low-cost smartphones and exploded as one of the world’s leading vendors within a handful of years. It even set a Guinness World Record for selling the most number of phones ever in a single day — 2.12 million units.
Since then, the firm has added products, including smart fitness bands, smart scooters, smart air purifiers, and more, splashing out to more than 40 countries and regions. The brand, which primarily sells direct to customers via online channels, or via distribution partnerships, has become so popular in China that at times it’s easy to forget that the start-up only launched in 2010.
It’s a company that’s also taken a cue from Silicon Valley company culture. Xiaomi’s young employees buzzed around headquarters on Monday, surrounded by tons of stuffed Mi bunnies — the firm’s cute white rabbit icon — perched on shelves and desks. Walls were dotted with reprints of iconic works by artists including Vincent van Gogh and Camille Pissarro. One staffer traveled in the office via Xiaomi’s own smart scooter, as people streamed in and out of the canteen chatting about work and weekend plans, and screens showed photos of members of the Mi soccer club.
This year, Xiaomi has already expanded into countries including Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, and is even manufacturing devices locally in India and Indonesia. Next year, the company is looking to focus more on Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines and in eastern Europe, Wang said.
And although Xiaomi’s low-cost offerings — the RedMi 4A phone is 599 yuan ($88) in China — perhaps make more sense in developing markets, the company also wants to make inroads in places…