Manu Jain, MD, Xiaomi India (File photo)
NEW DELHI: Amid growing border and diplomatic tensions between India and China, Xiaomi — the Chinese electronics giant which is also India’s top phone seller — has sought to downplay its Chinese origins, saying that the size of its business in India and its investments, local employees and factory, apart from domestic R&D, make the company “as Indian as one can get”.
The company, which has received flak on the social media (like many other Chinese firms) as India-China tensions flare up, emphasised that it is “following the local laws in India”, adding that “we are not doing anything wrong”. Xiaomi said that it should be seen as any other multi-national company operating in India, but with a strong local connect.
“The only way to be successful in any country is to adopt local culture, local manufacturing, R&D, themes, architecture… we are trying to do this here. Our entire leadership team is Indian, and no one from the HQs is sitting here,” Manu Jain, MD of Xiaomi India, told TOI as he dismissed speculation that their sales may be impacted due to the growing anti-Chinese sentiment among buyers.
Xiaomi has been leading the Indian smartphone market for the past many quarters, and has rather grown its on-ground presence by rapidly expanding physical stores. Jain said Xiaomi now has 3,000 exclusive ‘Mi’ stores in India, and this has happened over a period of two years. He said the physical stores have enabled the company manage its reach across the length and breadth of the country and it is present in over 850 cities, giving it onground strength apart from online business.
On the concerns around Chinese enterprises in India, especially after the government’s decision to ban over 100 Chinese apps, Jain said Xiaomi’s business here has been built on a strong foundation. However, he did concede that reactions on social media can be harsh. “I respect the sentiment of people. I am myself a proud Indian… I can understand why people could’ve reacted like that. (But) I don’t get disturbed about it. At the end of the day, my conscience is clear… We have paid the highest respect to localisation, we are among the largest generator of employment… this is most important,” Jain said.