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Xiaomi Takes its Flash-Sales Model to India

Xiaomi Takes its Flash-Sales Model to India
Photograph by Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Xiaomi, the smartphone brand that is such a hit in China, is making its move in the other giant Asian market, India. Flipkart, the e-commerce site that is a local rival of Amazon.com, is the exclusive seller of Xiaomi phones in India, promoting the Xiaomi Mi3 mode as “the fastest Mi phone ever.” The phone sells for 13,999 rupees ($228), but in order to buy it, Flipkart shoppers need to register in advance. That’s not so easy. “Registration for Mi3 sale is closed,” according to Flipkart.

Getting other Xiaomi phones is no simpler. Flipkart yesterday conducted a flash sale of Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S phone for 5,999 rupees ($98). “Beat the rush, improve your odds!” Flipkart advised, reminding would-be buyers to register in advance and log in two to three hours before the scheduled start of the sale. Over 400,000 people registered, but they needed to act fast to get a Xiaomi phone. Once the sale started at 2 p.m., it lasted all of four seconds before the supply ran out, says Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president in charge of international markets.