Xiaomi sells 20,000 devices within 2.3 seconds at fifth flash sale


Xiaomi sellsNEW DELHI: If you haven’t managed to get your hands on the Xiaomi Mi 3 despite several attempts on Flipkart, don’t be disappointed. The Rs 13,999-priced smartphone is available on eBay, Quikr and OLX through a number of resellers, though at sharply higher prices. A search on online retail platforms threw up several sellers across the country, including Mumbai, Delhi, Surat, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, offering sealed or unopened Mi 3 handsets at prices ranging between Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000. One, though, was being sold at the original price late Tuesday.

Xiaomi, the popular Chinese handset vendor, concluded its fifth flash sale on Tuesday where it sold 20,000 devices within 2.3 seconds, leaving the majority of the 100,000 people who had registered to buy the phone on Flipkart, high and dry. The next sale will begin August 26, for which registrations started at 6 pm Tuesday.

Xiaomi has an exclusive agreement with Flipkart to sell the Mi 3 devices only through the e-commerce website. But with demand far exceeding supply, resellers are making a killing. Manu Jain, India’s head of operations for Xiaomi, told ET the company is requesting these sites to try to take down such ads, but admitted that it would not be able to do anything legally to stop people from reselling the phone.

“We can’t legally stop them from selling it (Mi 3) after buying, but we’re working with Flipkart to put some checks and balances in place,” he said. For instance, Mi 3 purchases have been restricted to one device a person per week so that the same person cannot buy multiple devices, he added.

Jain added that Xiaomi is trying to increase the number of units put up for sale, which at the moment is only 20 per cent of demand. “We underestimated the demand, but we’re trying to ramp up production. It will take us a few more weeks to do so, but future quantities will be significantly higher.”

Including this week’s sale, Xiaomi has sold 75,000 phones, a fraction of the exponentially growing Indian smartphone market, which is expected to cross 80 million devices this year, almost double the 44 million sold in 2013.

Some smartphone buyers, frustrated with the limited Mi 3 quantities put up for sale, opted for rival devices Moto G and Asus Zenfone 5, according to posts on Xiaomi’s Facebook page. “I will be going to buy another phone, I can’t wait more — this is third time in a row for me,” said Sudhindra Sen on Xiaomi’s official local page called Mi India.

The Motorola and Asus devices are available at lower prices than the Mi 3. Motorola recently reduced the price of the Moto G by Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,999 for the 8 GB version and Rs 11,999 for the 16 GB version. The 8 GB version of the Asus Zenfone 5 is available for Rs 10,000.

Both Xiaomi and Motorola follow the online-only sales model, making them direct competitors online, while they compete offline with large MNC players Samsung, Apple and Sony, apart from Indian companies such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava. According to IDC, Samsung leads the smartphone market with a 29 per cent share, with Indian handset makers together taking up 32 per cent.