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Dear Xiaomi

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2018-03-10

Dear Xiaomi,

I am a big fan of your phones. I own Redmi Note 4 myself and I also purchased Redmi 5A for my mother. Now I am planning to upgrade to Redmi Note 5 Pro. I really appreciate the way you are transforming dynamics of a budget segment of Indian smartphone market. I have seen almost 5-6 Redmi and Mi phones till now and each one of them is impressive in its own ways. I have seen your Mi Power Bank 2.0 with my friend and really liked that too. I checked your mini Bluetooth speaker and it is definitely on my wish-list. You give us your products at a great price with great features and an amazing quality and then you are giving us something called FLASH SALES…

Dear Xiaomi… It should not a question whether India is an important market for you because it has to be the one. Probably that is the reason why you call you Redmi 5A ‘Desh ka smartphone’ and now calling Redmi Note 5 ‘India’s all-rounder.’ You surely recognize the potential of India’s consumer market and that is the main reason behind pricing your products so aggressively here.

We agree you are a growing company and manufacturing number of product equal to the demand is not an easy task. We also agree that the way your company price the products are consumer friendly and it imposes limitations on production expansion. However, now you also have to agree you have a loyal consumer base in India. You have achieved in India what many companies fail to achieve, the consumer loyalty. Those consumers are not only buying your products regularly but doing much-needed mouth publicity for you and make their friends and family buy your products. Sadly, the “flash sale” is hurting that core consumer base.

What flash sale been doing so far is allowing resellers to occupy the place of actual customers. It has allowed a parallel market of your products to flourish without any fear. These flash sales are making your genuine buyer rush to your site or to Flipkart with the hope that this time at least they will be lucky to have their desired product but get disappointed within few seconds. I hope you can imagine how “great” does it feel to try buying a phone every week from official online stores and keep failing in the attempts, only to realize that exactly the same phones are being sold on sites like OLX, Quikr and on social media platforms.

That’s not all by the way! People ask their friends to stay on the system and try to buy the particular product at the time of sale. That’s because they think at least one of those will be lucky enough to get hold of the device. This very thing has given an opportunity to earn some money to those who have a lot of free time. This shouldn’t be a secret how few people act like an agent and take money ONLY to book the phone in those crucial seconds. Neither it should be a secret how these agents turn reseller to resell the phones they have booked at a much higher price.

When you started the Mi Home in India, one of the most talked about things was that customer who cannot get Xiaomi products in flash sales will at least get F-code from Mi Home and they would be able to buy the products immediately. However, the reality is different. Your Mi Homes have the same answer whenever we ask about F-code and it's “that is unavailable with us.” In fact, even the Mi Home employees tell us how difficult it is to buy Xiaomi products if we go buy ‘regular’ method.

I was lucky to win one of the contest Xiaomi ran on Twitter at the time of Redmi Note 4 and I got an F-code as the prize. Within minutes I got messages from these ‘agents’ who were ready to buy my F-code at Rs.500-Rs.700 because they had buyers who were ready to pay up to Rs.1000 for this one code. The most recent experience is a week old when I called Just Dial to ask them for Mi Home Mumbai’s number and I started getting calls from mobile phone dealers who were selling Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro with Rs.2000 “ON.”

Dear Xiaomi, can you tell how a customer, a genuine buyer is supposed to feel at this point? This is not rocket science to understand that when demand is so high and supply is so low, it gives a vast room for the black market. We could have believed the excuse of ‘we were unprepared for the enormous demand’ if it was 2016 or 2017 but now it is 2018. It’s been long enough for you in the Indian market to anticipate how much demand you will have on the first or second sale. If your flash sale cannot stay alive for even 10 seconds even now then what we should make out of it?

Mr. Manu Kumar Jain proudly bragging about ‘honest pricing’ since last few days. Can I ask if he thinks the money people are paying to resellers and agents is part of that ‘honest pricing’? Thanks to many YouTubers and Tech reviewers who have raised the issue on social media so intensively. Thanks to Mr. Jai Mani of Xiaomi who is continuously engaging with them. This all made you stop COD option for one flash sale but then again, the situation did not improve.

Dear Xiaomi, now it is looking like the flash sale is not because of lack of units available but it is a pure market strategy to create the hype. The company who has very recently dethroned mighty Samsung to obtain the position of leading smartphone seller in India is supposed to have adequate stock before opening up its doors for consumers.

So, why don’t you allow users to pre-book your phones with the limit of only one phone per ID? At least that will give them assurance that their phone is booked, and they will get the delivery within estimated delivery time. That way, those who block the phones for reselling purpose will also think twice as they will have lesser number of ready-to-buy customers? Why not make phones available at your authorized stores, even if at a slightly higher price, and allow customers to buy it in an authorized way.

Dear Xiaomi, you are a brand that has made its own place and name in India. People wait for your new launches. These people have brands like Huawei and Moto to switch to but still are preferring you, not because your customers don’t have options but because they trust your products. Please make sure that these people do not have to leave you. No one waits for one phone for weeks and months.

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