Xiaomi to name Aussie distie, open flagship stores

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Xiaomi to name Aussie distie, open flagship stores
One of Xiaomi's flagship 'Mi' stores.

Chinese mobile phone vendor Xiaomi is close to appointing an Australian distributor, CRN has learned.

Xioami has quickly risen to become the world's fourth-largest smartphone brand, measured by shipments. The company this week announced that it has appointed Sydney-based Panmi, as its Australian promotional and business development partner.

Panmi chief operating officer George Saad told CRN that Panmi is nearing a deal with a “fairly large” Australian distributor to service the retail market and carry Xiaomi’s mobile phones and consumer IoT products.

Saad also said Panmi is also in discussions with Optus to carry Xiaomi phones. An Optus spokesperson confirmed there were discussions along with other vendors, but said it “hasn’t locked anything in.”

Signing a distributor and a major mobile telco would give Xiaomi a much better chance of doing well in Australia, as Panmi currently relies on online sales alone through its stewardship of Xiaomi's own Australian web presence and deals with Amazon Australia, eBay and Catch.

Panmi also runs a Sydney showroom at which shoppers can see Xiaomi handsets, consumer IoT devices, electric scooters, accessories and even luggage.

Saad said Panmi plans more retail ventures: he told CRN Panmi hopes to open ten flagship "Mi" stores across Australia in the next two to five years.

"Panmi works as the extended arm of Xiaomi in Australia, but we’re also working with a few other brands,” Saad told CRN. Among those brands is the Ninebot Segway electric scooter, which Saad said Panmi will soon bring to Australia.

“We’re looking to announce at least two more brands that we’ll bring into Australia once the deals are finalised,” Saad said.

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