Xiaomi enters Vietnam via local distributor

Chinese smartphone vendor inks partnership with Vietnamese ICT reseller, Digiworld, which will distribute, market, and provide customer support for Xiaomi products in the country.

Xiaomi has began selling its products in Vietnam through a new partnership with local distributor Digiworld (DGW), which also will provide marketing and customer support.

Describing the agreement as a "long-term strategic" partnership, Xiaomi said DGW would distribute, market, as well as provide after-sales support for its offerings in the local market, including smartphones and its Mi Ecosystem products. These would be available for sale via retailers across Vietnam as well as online through e-commerce operator, Lazada.

DGW currently is the authorised distributor for more than 30 brands in Vietnam, according to a joint statement released Thursday.

Xiaomi added that the Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4A, Mi MIX as well as its brand of power banks would be among the range of products available to the Vietnamese market.

In his note to employees early this year, Xiaomi's founder and CEO Lei Jun said the company was targeting to reach 100 billion yuan (US$14.46 billion) in revenue and planned to do so by focusing on five areas, including internet finance and artificial intelligence.

Lei added that the Chinese smartphone maker had faced several challenges in 2016, having "pushed ahead too fast" during its early years, and needed to address its shortfalls to ensure long-term sustainable growth. He noted, for instance, that Xiaomi had encountered supply issues and its e-commerce strategy must be further improved.

The vendor did not provide details of its 2016 revenue or how much each region and market contributed to its overall revenue. Lei, though, did reveal Xiaomi's India operations crossed US$1 billion in revenue for the first time last year, placing the smartphone maker among the country's top three in the market.

According to market researcher IDC, China's smartphone market in 2016 was led by local player Oppo, which shipped 78.4 million mobile units in the country. Huawei ranked second with 76.6 million units, followed by Vivo at 69.2 million. Apple ranked fourth with 44.9 million units shipped.

At 41.5 million units and a market share of 8.9 percent, Xiaomi rounded up the top five smartphone vendors in the Chinese market last year. These figures, however, had dipped compared to 2015 when it shipped 64.9 million units and had a market share of 15.1 percent.

Xiaomi had lead its domestic market in 2015, but saw the biggest fall in year-on-year growth by 36 percent, according to IDC numbers.

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