Not Your Average Sale: Uber Will Deliver Phones in Asia

24 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Not Your Average Sale: Uber Will Deliver Phones in Asia.

How instant can instant gratification be? Xiaomi, a Chinese phone giant looking to boost its profile in global markets, is attempting the mother of all publicity stunts: delivering phones to customers by Uber.

In another piece of evidence for the overwhelming argument for me to never leave my couch, Xiaomi announced that it’s going to partner up with Uber to hand-deliver smartphones.SINGAPORE — Chinese phone maker Xiaomi, popular for its value-for-money smartphones, is going upmarket with the launch of its most expensive phone, the Mi Note, which is more than two times costlier than the company’s next priciest offering.Picture the following situation: You’re living in Singapore or Malaysia, and you really want a Xiaomi phone, but walking into a store and buying one is just too plebeian for you?

Uber Technologies Inc. will deliver Xiaomi Corp. smartphones in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the first partnership between the world’s most valuable technology startups. Xiaomi will distribute the new phone in style, as it is, for the first time, collaborating with car-sharing and taxi-booking company Uber to deliver the phones to some customers in Uber’s cars. One full day before the Xiaomi Mi Note is available online (July 27), you’ll be able to tap a “Xiaomi” icon within the Uber app, and just like hailing an Uber, a orange-colored Xiaomi car will deliver the phone to your door within minutes. Right now the partnership is limited to Southeast Asia, where Xiaomi reigns supreme, but it’s undeniable we see a glimmer of our future in this marketing stunt.

After outselling Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. in China, Xiaomi is expanding overseas and selling devices such as air filters and headphones after a funding round in December valued the five-year-old company at $45 billion. In March last year, it launched the Mi3 for S$419, but it is no longer on sale. “At half the price of the iPhone 6 Plus, it is still value for money,” Mr Steve Vickers, general manager for South-east Asia at Xiaomi, said at the launch event today (July 24). “As the industry moves, and there are different niches within the market. Ride-hailing service Uber has been valued at $50 billion, even as it deals with losses that outstrip revenue and battles regulators and politicians around the world.

If you’re not familiar with Xiaomi’s Mi Note, it’s one of the best smartphones we’ve ever tried, with impressive specs, premium looks and a pretty affordable price of 569 Singapore dollars (about $416). Xiaomi, an industry leader in China, has struggled to penetrate foreign markets; the company poached Barra from Google’s product management team to oversee its international expansion. Its specifications include a 5.7-inch full HD screen, a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera (as well as 4-megapixel selfie cam) and 64GB of storage. It’s unclear whether this marketing move benefits Xiaomi or Uber more: Both are publicity-hungry companies eager for expansion in the very profitable markets of Singapore and Malaysia. The promo comes amid turbulent times for the ride-sharing service, as more and more cities are protesting its services — making it even a topic of discussion in the 2016 Presidential Race.

E-commerce has this lag between purchase and delivery, so we were trying to see if we could come up with ways to reduce this lag.” Most customers order Xiaomi phones from its online store. But unlike Apple—the company to which it’s most often compared—Xiaomi doesn’t make its money from its primary product, its phones, which are strategically aimed at budget-conscious consumers.

Rather, the heart of its offering as an Internet company is a layer of software services that Xiaomi integrated into its Android OS in order to get users spending.

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