Xiaomi lives a very sweet moment. After establishing itself in the European market –with particular success in Spain, where they have been crowned as the brand with the highest market share–, the company now has the objective of growing in other metrics. Bringing innovative technologies to the market, selling top-of-the-line phones – which bring more income to their coffers –, etc. In achieving these objectives, one of the key people is Abi Go, head of product marketing in international markets (all those that are not China).
His name may not be as well known as that of Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi. However, Abi Go has been in charge of publicizing many of the products that the brand has brought to international markets in recent years. It is, to put it in some way, the most visible face of the company in the European market. And, of course, she is also the one who oversees the product strategy for these countries.
Shortly after finishing the presentation of the Xiaomi 13 series in the framework of the Mobile World Congress, hypertextual had the opportunity to sit down with her for a few minutes to ask a few questions about the latest launch, the price hike seen in recent company launches, and the future of the connected home, among others.
hypertextual: Today you have presented the Xiaomi 13 series in Europe, two months after its launch in China. Considering the growth of Xiaomi in Europe and the rest of the world, have you considered making simultaneous launches in China and the rest of the world? Why do you do it this way?
Abi Go: It’s something we’re looking at and working towards a possible, for example, simultaneous release.
And answering your second question: when we launch phones in the global market, you have to take into account, for example, the different certifications, the different processes that are necessary to be able to enter a specific market. That is something that is causing maybe a few months of delay between the China market and the rest of the global markets. And global markets are in turn made up of different countries.
hypertextual: The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a clear step forward, but it is also more expensive than what we are used to from the brand. In fact, it costs the same as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 14 Pro Max. What is the reason behind this price increase?
Abi Go: First of all, we are very confident about the Xiaomi 13 series that we are launching in the global market. This is currently the flagship that leads the Xiaomi catalog. And we are very confident that our consumers are going to love this phone. In addition, it is the first phone in collaboration with Leica that we launched globally.
When we develop pricing strategies, we have to take into account various factors such as tariffs, international barriers or other types of certifications that may increase the cost. These are some of the reasons why the pricing strategy is quite different.
hypertextual: But is it [ese incremento] mostly because of inflation and higher costs or because you want to focus on a different market?
Abi Go: I think it’s a mix of the two.
hypertextual: One of your main competitive advantages in Europe has always been the price. Your products were cheaper than Samsung or Apple. Are you worried that this price increase will impact your business?
Abi Go: Xiaomi’s mission has not changed from the beginning. We have always wanted to offer great products at an honest price. This is still in effect.
When we went public, our CEO even promised that we would only make a 5% profit on all of our products. And if we got more, it would be returned to our users. This approach has not changed. Our strategy remains the same.
On the other hand, at Xiaomi we have different segments that appeal to different customers. We are still giving our consumers that selection. If you want a mid-range phone, you’ve got it. If you want an entry phone, if you want a premium flagship… You have options to choose from.
hypertextual: And speaking of the Xiaomi portfolio: the brand’s catalog was quite confusing last year. There were many similar products. Even we journalists often get confused. I know that the strategy is paying off because the numbers are good. But can we expect an easier to understand portfolio?
Abi Go: When it comes to product strategy, this year for example, we are constantly looking at market demands and other factors. We always carry out intensive research when we launch a new product on the market. It is something that we always take into consideration.
hypertextual: Yes, but there are products that are basically the same. For example, some Poco devices are exactly the same as certain Redmi except for the exterior design. What is the point of selling the same phone twice?
Abi Go: This is related to different product strategies in different markets. That’s all I can share with you right now.
hypertextual: In the field of the connected home, the industry is moving towards the Matter standard, as you probably know. Aqara and Yeelight have confirmed that they are going to support it, but Xiaomi is not. Can we expect full Matter support from Xiaomi? And if the answer is affirmative, when?
Abi Go: I have nothing to share about it at the moment [risas].
hypertextual: So we will probably have news soon…
Abi Go: What I can share and what I know is that Xiaomi is an open ecosystem. We are always looking for what can benefit our users. And we are certainly considering the matter of the Matter standard. That’s what I can share [risas].
hypertextual: Foldable phones are getting better and better. I had the opportunity to briefly test the Xiaomi MIX Fold 2 and it was pretty good, I have to say. Much better than competitive products. However, its availability is still limited. Why are these kinds of Xiaomi products not available in the global market? When can we expect wider availability? Especially since Samsung and Oppo are already selling this type of device in Europe.
Abi Go: It’s definitely something we’re looking at in our product roadmap. That’s all I can share with you at the moment.
If we launch any foldable phones in the future, we want to make sure that we’ve done extensive market analysis and that it’s something that the market we’re launching the product in really wants.
The content of this interview has been lightly edited for clarity.