Xiaomi, the Chinese consumer electronics giant, yesterday formally launched its Mi Notebook 14 laptop in India, its sixth product launch in the country since mid-April, despite the restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

That Xiaomi has chosen not to postpone new launches, unlike many other major brands operating in India, is largely due to its focus on e-commerce and digital engagement with consumers and retailers alike.

Of course, like other companies, Xiaomi suffered a setback in the second quarter, with disruption at its manufacturing plants and to its supply chain, yet its Mi Commerce offline to online initiative has helped to keep consumers informed about its latest plans and to connect them to its stores.

This has enabled Xiaomi to maintain momentum in one of its most important overseas markets, leading to the launch of the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P on April 17, followed by the new Mi 10 5G smartphone, as well as new earphones, earbuds and a smart wi-fi home box in May.

Anuj Sharma, CMO of Xiaomi India, outlined the company’s strategy in an interview with afaqs, revealing that the company intends to expand its offline base of 3,000 exclusive stores to 5,000 by the end of the year and that it expects e-commerce ‘s share of overall sales – currently at 35-40% – to increase.

Digital engagement, as well as an agile and adaptive approach to marketing, has underpinned Xiaomi’s determination to maintain its schedule of new product launches.

“The need of the hour for us was to keep our consumers engaged through an innovative launch. For example, our #NoStringsAttached campaign for Redmi Earbuds S,” Sharma explained.

“The preheat videos of the campaign on social media spoke about the challenges with wired earphones. This was followed by [a] rap video by Xiaomi employees, showcasing key selling points of the product. We were able to identify the consumer needs, and then come up with a format that connected well,” he added.

Sharma also emphasised that Xiaomi maintained consumer engagement throughout the lockdown. “Being a ‘social first’ company, we are constantly communicating digitally with our user base,” he said.

“The sudden shift due to the lockdown didn’t really impact our engagement. We continued communicating across all our platforms, sharing latest updates on launches and services,” he added.

“Further, we communicated continuously through Mi Community, our ultimate online playground where we interact with our fans. The regular offline fan meets model has been made virtual. There are no boundaries in a virtual fan meet, any number of people can join.”

Sourced from afaqs; additional content by WARC staff