NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp said on Monday it will launch an e-commerce service in India this week to enable customers stuck at home during a nationwide lockdown to buy its products from their local retailer.
The new service, Mi Commerce, will allow consumers to browse online products available at a store close to their home and place orders, Muralikrishnan B, chief operating officer of Xiaomi India, said. Delivery will be done by the partner store.
The service will be rolled out across India and Xiaomi will continue it after the lockdown ends if it is successful.
Xiaomi is the biggest smartphone company in India by shipments with a market share of 30%, ahead of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Ltd, according to Hong Kong-based tech researcher Counterpoint.
However, like its rivals, Xiaomi’s sales have taken a hit during the lockdown to contain the coronavirus. Stores in India are closed and online sales have dropped as e-commerce websites such as Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart suspended sales of mobile phones to focus on deliveries of household items.
India is Xiaomi’s biggest market outside China.
The nationwide lockdown began on March 25 and has been extended until May 17, although there are some relaxations.
“We are (offering) business continuity in the offline trade, especially given the context that people will obviously be apprehensive about visiting offline stores because of concerns of safety, hygiene, virus spreading,” Muralikrishnan told journalists via a webcast.
Xiaomi will also help provide working capital loans to its partners through its credit offering, the company’s India head Manu Jain said.
Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Susan Fenton