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Xiaomi says it shipped more than 200 million smartphones in India during crackdown – londonbusinessblog.com

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Xiaomi said on Wednesday that it has shipped more than 200 million smartphones in India so far, demonstrating its size in the world’s second-largest phone market in just eight years.

The Chinese giant, which started selling smartphones in India in 2014, revealed the figure at a media conference on Wednesday, where it pledged future commitment to the country. It took Xiaomi five years to ship its first 100 million smartphones in India, and only three for the next. The company claimed that it has occupied the tent pole position in the Indian smartphone market since 2017.

The announcement comes at a time when Indian authorities have stepped up a crackdown on Chinese smartphone makers in the country.

Indian authorities have alleged that Chinese phone makers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have engaged in tax evasion. The companies have denied any allegation. The Chinese embassy in India earlier this month criticized the Indian authorities for “frequent investigations” into local units of Chinese companies and warned that such steps would “improve the [the] business environment” in India and “cools the confidence and willingness” of other foreign companies to invest and operate in the South Asian market.

The recent investigations into Chinese phone makers follow growing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors that escalated in 2020 after a skirmish at the border.

India has since introduced several restrictions on Chinese companies. In the past two years, New Delhi has banned hundreds of Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser and PUBG Mobile, over national security concerns. New Delhi also changed its foreign direct investment policy in 2020 to require all neighboring countries with which it shares a border to seek approval from New Delhi for their future deals in the country.

While India is reducing its reliance on Chinese software and capital, the country still lacks the infrastructure to make a similar attempt at hardware. New Delhi has launched lucrative incentives in recent years to boost India’s local hardware manufacturing ecosystem, but analysts say it will likely take several years for such efforts to have a meaningful impact.

Four of the top five smartphone sellers in India are Chinese. Indian smartphone makers such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava lost relevance over the past decade as Chinese smartphone makers and Samsung, the second largest supplier of handsets in India, launched more competitive devices at better prices.

In India, most handsets come with a price tag of less than $200. Xiaomi, whose phones are rising above their price range, has largely focused on the budget-conscious market from the day it started operations in India. The company has said in the past that it never makes more than 5% profit on any hardware product it sells.

When Xiaomi entered India, it mainly relied on online handset sales to save overhead for the first two years. But in the years since, it has a presence in the physical markets, which continues to drive much of the sales in the country.

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