Interview: Xiaomi’s Andrzej Gladki talks foldable phones and market expansion

Xiaomi recently opened its first Mi Store in Bulgaria, located in Paradise Center in the country’s capital – Sofia. After the event, we had a chance to speak with Mr Andrzej Gladki, who is currently the company’s Deputy Director – General for the CEE & Nordics region.

Mr. Gladki is in charge of sales in all channels in the region and the management of the sales team, and he told us that the Mi Store in Sofia is only the first of the many stores that Xiaomi plans to open in Bulgaria. Sir. Gladki also revealed that the official Mi stores in Bulgaria will be working with a new distributor that has its own channel, which will make it easier for customers in the country to buy Xiaomi products that were not available before. You can read the interview below for full details.

Xiaomi continues to expand its presence in more and more markets, with Bulgaria being the latest to have an official Xiaomi store – which are the next countries on your roadmap?

Our region (CEE & Nordics / Northeast Europe) consists of 26 markets. We are present with business operations running in all of these, with either local teams or covering some markets from neighboring countries. In terms of Xiaomi stores, we already have 108 in our region. The next store openings are planned in Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Albania and of course Bulgaria.

How important is it to have these flagship stores for the brand’s success? Are they more of a reputation booster that helps improve brand recognition, or do they also make sense as a profitable retail channel alone?

We are opening Xiaomi stores with our partners and we definitely want them to be profitable for them. We are implementing more and more analyzes to ensure this factor. By improving retail efficiency and expanding the portfolio of our ecosystem products, Xiaomi Stores can be commercially profitable by both increasing sales volume and reducing costs. Nevertheless, Xiaomi Stores is not just a core channel. It’s also a showroom showcasing our entire product portfolio to our Xiaomi fans, customers and partners.

As a follow-up to the previous question – can we expect Xiaomi to expand its store network in Europe or focus more on online sales and carriers?

As we are the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer in Europe and No. 2 in the world with a strong and growing portfolio of AIoT products, we need to expand all our channels. Ecommerce and Xiaomi Stores networks are traditional Xiaomi core channels. Nevertheless, retail channels for carriers and open markets are just as important, and we have been successfully covering them in recent years. In our region, CEE & Nordics, the transport channel is particularly important and influential.

What is the relative popularity of Xiaomi line-ups in Europe – are the Redmi phones selling the best, the flagship Mi line or the POCO phones?

Each line-up has its own product pursuit. The Xiaomi series aims to bring the most advanced and innovative technologies to the high-end segment, while the Redmi series focuses on offering quality products to the mass market at very affordable prices. POCO, as an independent brand, is designed for nerds and tech fans, extremely young, fashionable and powerful.

In particular, it would be great if you could share more about the performance of the Mi 11 Ultra – it’s a great flagship that we really loved, but it’s also an expensive phone. Can you share how many units from the one you managed to sell, or at least if it reached its sales targets?

Xiaomi announced that it was selling the Mi 11 Ultra for $ 1.2 billion in revenue. RMB (approximately $ 185 million / € 155 million) in just 60 seconds at first sale. That is 20 million RMB (approximately 3 million dollars / 2.6 million euros) per. Second. You can imagine how popular it was among consumers. In many markets it is completely sold out.

Previously, there were reports that the Mi MIX Fold will arrive in Europe at the end of 2. quarter, but it never came to anything. Are there any specific plans to bring your first foldable phone here?

We are aware that there are users who are very interested in collapsible devices and we will keep you updated on any future plans.

Xiaomi has always tried to accommodate the largest possible audience by releasing a large selection of phones and giving people more choices, but it has attracted criticism as it makes navigation in this line-up quite confusing. In the future, do you feel that this strategy works well enough, or do you plan to streamline the lineup to some degree?

Although we offer many models, we offer something for almost any price range. Consumers can choose the best and most suitable device based on their budget. I must again address our commitment: From entry-level to premium, Xiaomi pursues the best for all price segments. Our mission is to let everyone in the world enjoy a better life through innovative technology.

What do you think will be the main trends in smartphone development in the coming years – which areas will Xiaomi focus on the most?

We can say that smartphones as a category or form factor already reached maturity many years ago. We had more differentiation in the era before the smartphone. Now it’s more about sophistication, like bigger screens, more processing power, more memory, better battery performance, etc. There are, of course, promising trends like foldable screens or voice assistants that can slightly change the paradigm of human-technological interaction.

Xiaomi has always focused on bringing the best quality products at affordable prices, and we will not change our core values. Ultimately, our motto is “Innovation for Everyone”.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I would like to thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you as I personally am a big fan of GSMArena for almost 20 years. 😊 The media has always been a great source of information and opinions for me. To all GSMArena readers, I want to say and assure them that Xiaomi is one of the most exciting and interesting tech companies in the world. We made incredible achievements one after the other. Just a few days ago, we were included on the Fortune Global 500 list in 2021, ranked 338th, up 84 places from last year. We also became the world number 2 smartphone brand and No. 1 smartphone brand in Europe in terms of shipments in Q2 2021, according to several market research institutes. Our strategy, vision and unique business model give us the power and momentum to reach our next peaks. I promise all of our Xiaomi fans that we will make people’s lives more comfortable and convenient, and we will continue to positively surprise all the people around the world many, many more times! Come and enjoy a better, smarter life with us!


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