Excitement of Xiaomi in Kenya Faded?



So many were quite excited that the really popular Xiaomi of flash sales and online sales resulting in good prices came into Kenya. But their entry marked a new direction that we hadn’t anticipated. Offline market development as opposed to the famous flash sales and cutting of the middle-man.

So I may be the only one but I feel that the brand has not lived up to this hype in Kenya. First they are quite invisible, then they sell dated flagships. the Xiami RedmiNote 2 when there is Note 3 and 4 already in many markets (I’m talking about official channels, since they sell via Orange).

Does the brand still excite like it did before official entry to Kenya?


There are a couple of things they are getting wrong in my opinion like insisting on availing older devices and not their very latest as well as not being as aggressive as they ought to but I am willing to give the brand and their distributors, Mobile in Africa Ltd, the benefit of doubt. Cracking this market can be quite hard. If they’ll put in the same effort they have put in elsewhere then they’ll be just fine. Every other brand that has notable activity in the market right now (flashy advertising, visible traction and all) has taken a while to be there. There are some tough lessons they will be learning along the way and this will all go a long way in determining how much influence they will have here. Let them lay the building blocks for us to get excited about. I saw their devices heavily discounted at the Orange Shop I mostly frequent (Sarit). 10k and 20k for the Redmi 2 and the Redmi Note 2 respectively. The only problem is that ours is a very dynamic market that can as well be very unforgiving so they need to move fast. Chinese brands that have had enough time to corner the market like Tecno are eating everyone’s food.


I don’t agree fully with you Chenze. On the part of pushing dated devices that is true, and that’s what is hurting them. But they’ve had more than enough time to gain traction.
Xiaomi as a brand is very exciting, even locally, want to know how much? Look at avechi.com. They are unofficial but they are even bringing in the Mi Mix, they already have the Mi5s and RedMi Note 4. Mobile In Africa should just follow this simple concept, bring in the latest devices, sell online and cut down those prices. 20k for a RedMi Note 2 is too much.


Mobile in Africa is a traditional offline retail dealer, and that’s why they advised that Xiaomi go for building the retail business. The disruption that Xiaomi is facing in some markets in Asia is because they didn’t develop retail business but depended on online sales. They also came in with the notion that online is not huge in Kenya and you have to operate on thin margins to make an impact online. In a way that’s sensible thinking, but it doesn’t win them where they have little marketing and sell dated devices.


If they brought in the latest devices, offline and at the sort of high prices, would you buy?
Plus I guess their marketing is not that good.


Well, I would actually. There is something about support and personal relationship when physical stores are involved that make people consider paying more. For example, Safaricom shops sell a lot, and they are quite expensive compared to many other places.


As for me, I really consider the price. Maybe that’s coz I will have already made up my mind on the device I’m getting.


Xiaomi have failed to understand the local market…they should have opened a flagship store in the Nairobi CBD on launch day and have it filled with all kinds of Xiaomi products,from the notebooks,phones,air cons e.t.c…then price them reasonably…Open up a website portal under www.xiaomi.co.ke and have it filled with all the products they have on offer at the store…also partner with Jumia and kilimall and build a huge social media presence…Include local payment models like Cash on delivery,Lipa na MPESA and Airtel Money alongside credit\debit cards…even have their premium devices sold at safaricom stores…Unfortunately,this is part of what it takes to get a foothold in Kenya’s largest smartphone markets(Nairobi and Mombasa)…Sure it would cost a lot of money in marketing and setup costs but if they are playing the long-term game,they have a shot at reaping big rewards