Samsung's China Problems Come to India

Cheaper smartphones eat away at the South Korean company’s lead
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun Photograph by Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

And you thought iPhones were popular. At 2 p.m. on Oct. 14, Xiaomi put 100,000 of its Redmi 1S smartphones up for sale in India, using local e-commerce site Flipkart to sell them, unsubsidized, for 5,999 rupees ($98) apiece. Within four seconds the phones sold out. Such Flipkart flash sales have become weekly events since China’s Xiaomi entered India in July. “It’s the most important market for us after China,” says Hugo Barra, the Google alumnus now in charge of Xiaomi’s international expansion. Indians “are without a doubt the most demanding users that we have encountered.”

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