Xiaomi hires former Google executive to manage product strategy in India

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has hired a former Google executive to manage its product strategy in India where the Chinese company was facing much criticism over inventory handling - its hugely popular handsets sell out in a matter of seconds during online sales, The Economic Times reported.

The company's vice-president of international operations, Hugo Barra said in a Facebook post  Jai Mani would join Xiaomi as lead product manager of its operations in India. Barra too had worked at Google earlier.

According to Barra, Mani had already relocated from San Francisco to Bangalore.

According to Mani's LinkedIn profile, he is currently product manager and co-founder of a startup and at Google he was Google Play strategy and analytics associate. Mani worked at Google from 2009 to 2013.

Mani joins Xiaomi at a time when the company was competing with devices backed by Google's Android One project, having comparable prices and features.

Mani might need to do some damage control initially as Xiaomi focused on India as one of its top markets, the ET  report  said. The company had been drawing the ire of those who had not been able to buy its products due to limited inventory.

However, all those frustrated at missing out on the Redmi 1S flash sales can take heart. Now, according to Xiaomi, it would offer 1,00,000 units at each of these weekly events on Flipkart, ratcheting up production to meet demand.

According to Barra, for Redmi 1S, the company actually had to take volume away from all the other markets to be able to meet demand in India.

Meawhile, Barra told The Wall Street Journal when asked about Mani's hiring that one could think of it as the beginning of its R&D centre development in India, CNET reported.

Xiaomi had quickly emerged as the leading smartphone vendor in China, the world's largest market, and had ambitions to grow in India and Southeast Asia.

The company, that had grown in popularity by offering high-end but lower-priced Android-powered smartphones, captured 14 per cent of the Chinese market in the second quarter, overtaking Samsung, according to research firm Canalys. However, the company, now the fifth-largest smartphone maker in the world, still had little name recognition outside of China, but it was working on making itself a bigger name in Asia and Europe.

While Samsung and Apple had retained their spots as the top two smartphone vendors worldwide, Xiaomi had increased the competition against them, capturing 5.1 per cent of the smartphone market in the second quarter of this year, up from just 1.8 per cent a year earlier, Strategy Analytics said.