Xiaomi focuses on India to market cheaper smartphones
Xiaomi, the fifth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, has stated it plans to prioritise India to market its products.
India has a market of similar size to China, with around 1.4bn consumers, and demand for cheap electronics is high for a more cost-conscious market.
Xiaomi has 60 markets currently and founder and Chief executive of the tech Unicorn, Lei Jun, has said that India is one of the most promising in terms of shipment an scale of work.
He explained: “We have adopted the India No 1 strategy, which includes deisgn, research and development, manufacturing and supply…We became No. 1 because out company is so small, so we focus all our energy on India. That’s why we have really supported India on the supply front.”
The company will establish a research centre in Bangalore and hire local engineers. Some of its products will be developed exclusively for India and will not be sold in China. At present, some staff members from China have been sent over to support the India team.
At present, the firm sells about 200 products in China and 20 in India, but it has stated within 3-4 years it hopes to sell 200 products in India.
Xiaomi has seen huge success this year, having reached its targets for 2017 in October, with $15.07bn sales and 70mn smartphone shipments. It has increased its target for next year to 100mn shipments and hopes to replicate its domestic success in India.
Last quarter, Xiaomi almost tripled smartphone shipments year on year and doubled the figure quarter on quarter.
India is a particularly attractive market not only due to its sheer size, but as the Chinese market is saturated with competition. This is also one reason why fellow Chinese smartphone producer, Transsion, has chosen for focus on the African market, in a growing trend.
However, other smartphone producers like Huawei have chosen not to push for the Indian market as they prefer to sell pricier handsets in the Chinese and European markers where demand for such products is higher.
Xiaomi has invested $4bn in 300 companies in China over the past few years and will now invest up to $1bn in 100 Indian start-ups between now and 2022. It is thought this will be part of efforts to boost the supply of apps for its smartphones.
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.