Andrzej Gladki of Xiaomi discusses foldable phones and market expansion in an interview

Xiaomi finally introduced its first Mi Store in Bulgaria, in Sofia’s Paradise Center.Following the event, we spoke with Mr. Andrzej Gladki, the company’s Deputy General Manager for CEE & Nordics.

Mr. Gladki oversees all regional sales channels and sales teams, and he decided to tell us that the Mi Store in Sofia would be the first of many planned in Bulgaria.He also revealed that the new distributor will work with the official Mi Stores in Bulgaria, making it easier for person to purchase Xiaomi products that weren’t previously available.Details are in the interview below.

With the opening of an official Xiaomi store in Bulgaria, which countries are next on your roadmap?

Our region (CEE & Nordics) has 26 markets.We have business operations in all of these, either with local teams or with teams from neighbouring countries.Our region has 108 Xiaomi Stores.Following Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Czechia and Slovakia will be followed by Albania and Bulgaria.

How vital are those flagship stores to the brand’s success?Are they more of a public image booster, or can they be a profitable business channel on their own?

We are opening Xiaomi Stores with our Partners and we want them to succeed.We’re using more analytics to secure this factor.Xiaomi Stores can become more profitable by increasing sales volume and reducing costs by improving retail efficiency and expanding our ecosystem product portfolio.However, Xiaomi Stores are not the only sales channel.It’s also a showroom for our Xiaomi Fans, customers, and partners.

Can we expect Xiaomi to widen its store network in Europe or focus on online sales and carriers?

As the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer in Europe and No. 2 globally, we must expand our channels.Xiaomi’s core channels are e-commerce and the Xiaomi Store network.Nevertheless, we have successfully covered both carrier and open market online stores in recent years.In our region, CEE & Nordics, the carrier channel is crucial.

Which Xiaomi line-ups sell the best in Europe – Redmi, Mi, or POCO?

This is true for every line-up.The Xiaomi series aims to bring cutting-edge technology to the high-end market, while the Redmi series targets the mass market with quality products at low prices.POCO is an independent brand designed for young, fashionable, and powerful geeks.The Mi 11 Ultra is an amazing flagship that we loved, but it’s also an expensive phone.

Can you share how many units you sold, or if it met its sales targets?

Xiaomi announced that the Mi 11 Ultra sold out in 60 seconds, generating RMB 1.2 billion ($185 million/€155 million).The equivalent of $3 million (€2.6 million) per second.You can imagine how popular it was.It’s sold out in many markets.

The Mi MIX Fold was supposed to arrive in Europe at the end of Q2, but that never happened.Is it planned to bring your first foldable phone here?

We recognise the demand for foldable devices and will keep you informed of any future plans.

Xiaomi has always tried to appeal to the widest possible audience by publishing a large number of phones, but this has prompted criticism for making navigation difficult.Do you think this strategy will continue to work, or do you plan to modernise the lineup?We have models in almost every price range.Consumers can select the best device for their budget.I must reiterate our commitment:Xiaomi seeks the best in every price range, from entry to premium.Our mission is to improve everyone’s lives through innovative technology.What do you think will be the next big smartphone trends – and where is Xiaomi putting its efforts?

Smartphones as a category or form-factor were mature years ago.Pre-smartphone, we had more variety.Now it’s about refinement: bigger screens, faster processors, more memory, better battery life.Of course, promising trends like foldable screens and voice assistants may shift the human-technology interaction paradigm.Xiaomi has always focused on bringing high-quality products at low prices, and we won’t change that.
Our motto is “Technology for All”.

Do you have anything else to say to our readers?

I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you as I’ve been a long-time reader of GSMArena.And I’ve always loved hearing what the media thinks.I want to assure all GSMArena readers that Xiaomi is one of the world’s most exciting and interesting tech companies.We achieved incredible feats after feats.We were just ranked 338th on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2021, up 84 places from last year.Multiple market research firms rank us as the world’s No. 2 smartphone brand and Europe’s No. 1 smartphone brand in Q2, 2021.Our strategy, vision, and unique business model propel us to new heights.I promise all our Xiaomi fans that we will continue to improve people’s lives and positively surprise everyone around the world!Join us for a better, smarter life!