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Chinese gadgets maker Xiaomi eyes laptop market in India

Xiaomi would target students, office goers, content creators, and gamers to capture the laptop segment.

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After conquering almost one-third of the smartphone market in India, Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi has now set its sight on the laptop market, a segment that is expected to grow due to an increasing work-from-home culture.

The Beijing-headquartered company on Thursday said it would launch laptops under its Mi Notebook series in India next month. In its home market, Xiaomi sells different versions of laptops including Mi Notebook laptop, a Pro variant, the Mi Gaming laptop, and Mi Laptop Air.

“We are ready to introduce the next big category in India with the Mi Notebook series. We will broadly have two series under Mi Notebook that we are going to launch. It will be a minimalistic design, a power-packed device with the latest technology to fulfill the requirements of our Indian users,” Raghu Reddy, chief business officer, Xiaomi India, told wire agency IANS.

Reddy told local media Economic Times (ET), that unlike its strategy to crack India’s smartphone market, Xiaomi would target students, office goers, content creators, and gamers to capture the laptop segment. He also revealed that Xiaomi won’t roll out too many laptop models as it did for smartphones.

Read this: Xiaomi sees strong growth in offline sales in India

Reddy believes the personal computer (PC) category remains largely under penetrated in India, and that’s a huge opportunity for the company to tap in.

“It [notebook] has been a stagnant category…you see some increase due to big commercial deals from state governments…however, there are two segments that are growing—Thin & Light and Gaming,” Reddy told ET. He added that thin and light laptop segment saw 70-80% growth last year and contributes around 30% to the total market, while gaming is a growing market with a 5% share.

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According to the industry estimates, the notebook market in India at present ranges between six to seven million units per year. Data collated by US-based research firm IDC shows India shipped 11 million PCs with notebooks accounting for 67% of it in the calendar year 2019. However, in the first quarter of 2020, notebooks recorded a 16.8% decline over a year ago period in the first quarter of 2020, “due to significant YoY contractions in the consumer and education segments.”

In the second quarter of the year, the segment is seeing a surge in demand with people forced to work from home, and students taking online classes. India had imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25 to prevent the novel coronavirus spread in the country. Now the country is in the process of lifting the restrictions gradually.

“There has been a huge uptake in learning and working from home in India during this countrywide shutdown as students, parents, working executives, and companies come to terms with the new reality during this period,” Jaipal Singh, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, said in a statement earlier this month. “On the other hand, small and medium businesses are significantly impacted because of the shutdown with buying trend expected to remain low throughout the year. Thus, vendors must be ready to capture these pockets of growth in the next few quarters to offset the sluggish demand.”

Xiaomi is gearing up to do just that. Once it enters the laptop segment, Xiaomi would compete with PC giants HP, Dell, and Lenovo. Together they capture over 75% market share.

“We always give ourselves a year to build up the category. As a brand, we ensure that customers have post-sales experience as well and once we start getting results, we will scale it,” Reddy told ET.