Xiaomi to bring crowdfunding platform to India

Xiaomi has invested in 55 start-ups that work on connected devices ranging from air purifiers to drones


Xiaomi’s founder and CEO, Lei Jun (L), and Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president of international operations, during the launch of the Mi 4i phone in New Delhi last year. Photo: Reuters
Xiaomi’s founder and CEO, Lei Jun (L), and Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president of international operations, during the launch of the Mi 4i phone in New Delhi last year. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: Chinese tech firm Xiaomi may soon bring its ‘crowdfunding’ platform to India that will help start-ups working on consumer electronics to sell their wares through the medium.

In China, Xiaomi runs a crowdfunding platform where hardware start-ups submit their products and consumers can book them, helping these companies raise funds in the process. While these are not Xiaomi-branded, the products are compatible with Xiaom’s Mi Home app.

“We are open to bringing the programme but we will have to change certain things before we can launch it in India,” Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said.

Xiaomi, which is betting big on the Internet of Things (IoT) space with its Mi Ecosystem, has invested in 55 start-ups that work on connected devices ranging from air purifiers to drones.

Talking about the challenges of bringing the platform to India, Barra cited the example of certifications that electronics products need for selling in the country, which takes anywhere between 3-6 months to get.

“Consumers pay the money in advance and it wouldn’t be fair if they had to wait for such a long time before they get the product delivered. We will have to figure out these challenges before we can bring the programme here,” he said.

Xiaomi today launched its air purifier, Mi Air Purifier 2, in India, its first home category product.

Priced at Rs 9,999, the air purifier on the auto mode, adjusts the speed of the device’s motor automatically, according to the air quality — measured using built-in sensors. Since the device is WiFi-compatible, it connects to Xiaomi’s Mi Home app. It also monitors the filter’s lifespan and sends a reminder when it needs to be replaced. The replacement filter will be priced at Rs 2,499.

“Air pollution is becoming an alarming public health concern in India. It is heartening to see more conversation around the situation, but there is still a big gap when it comes to consumer awareness. We believe that we are able to play a role in increasing awareness about air pollution by including Air Quality Index (AQI) data into our MIUI Weather app, and by introducing Mi Air Purifier 2 to India,” Barra said.

The air purifier will be available on Mi.com from September 26 and on Flipkart from October 2.

Xiaomi has a range of products like robot vacuum cleaners, security cameras, water filters, smart rice cookers, smart televisions and hover boards that are available in its home market.

“Our focus is on re-defining the consumer electronics segment by bringing in innovation at affordable prices. We will gradually bring the other home products to the Indian market as well,” Barra said.

He added that the company may launch its smart rice cooker next year in India.

Xiaomi is also launching the new version of its Mi Band 2, priced at Rs 1,999. It features an OLED display, has a battery life of 20 days on a single charge and is IP67 splash-resistant. It has a fitness, sleep and optical heart rate tracker and allows users to unlock their phones and provides call and app alerts. Mi Band 2 will be available on Mi.com from September 27 and on Amazon.in from September 30.

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