Feb 20, 2014

    Xiaomi setting up HQ in Singapore

    HANDSET maker Xiaomi, often billed as the Apple of China, will be setting up its international headquarters in Singapore.

    Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin told The Straits Times yesterday that the company is recruiting actively, such as for positions in finance.

    The firm will be moving out of its office at Asia Square to a new space, and plans to hire 10 to 20 staff in the next six months.

    The phone maker, whose investors include Temasek Holdings and GIC, chose Singapore as the location for its international office because the country is an "incredibly sophisticated market", said Mr Hugo Barra, vice-president of Xiaomi Global.

    He explained that the firm, which is known for its budget smartphones, believes the quality of feedback from Singapore on its phones and services "would be phenomenal".

    The company hopes to apply what it learns from Singapore when it expands elsewhere in the world, he said.

    Xiaomi plans to build a distribution centre here for its products to serve the South-east Asia region.

    Singapore is the first country outside Greater China to get Xiaomi's phones officially. A service centre for phone repairs will be opened in Central Mall.

    Malaysia is the next country that Xiaomi is eyeing.

    Mr Barra added that the company is also looking closely at India. There are no firm plans yet for product launches in the United States or Europe, as they are markets that are "very far away", he said.

    Xiaomi's Redmi budget phone will be selling here without contract through the firm's Singapore website at $169 from tomorrow.

    StarHub and M1 said they would sell the Redmi with contract at no cost from next Thursday.

    The phone can also be bought at $169 with a pre-paid bundle from StarHub and without contract from M1. SingTel said it would reveal its Redmi price plans soon.

    Xiaomi also announced that it will release a higher-end smartphone, the Mi3, here on March 7, at $419 without contract on its website.