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Despite its weak branding in the Western hemisphere, Xiaomi is one of the largest tech companies in the world. Standing at rank four, Xiaomi competes against electronic manufacturing giants such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

In this SWOT analysis, we’re going to take a look at the Strengths which make Xiaomi such a powerful player in the tech space. We’ll also look at some of the manufacturer’s Weaknesses, as well as Opportunities and Threats for the future. Finally, make sure you also check out our PESTLE analysis of Xiaomi.

Strengths

Here are a few of Xiaomi’s most notable Strengths:

Affordable pricing

Xiaomi offers smartphones and other electronic devices at extremely competitive prices. This is extremely important for two reasons. First off, Xiaomi’s budget-friendly pricing allows them to compete for the more budget-friendly consumers in developed regions. Secondly, it allows them to enter new, previously-untapped markets in which smartphones were previously too expensive. For example, Xiaomi is able to sell millions of devices in the Asian market, especially in China and India, which would be impossible as a luxury brand such as Apple or Samsung.

High quality products

Despite their affordable prices, Xiaomi has a reputation for building high-quality products. Consumers and tech critics alike are consistently impressed by how much bang you can get for your buck with their smartphones. In part, this is thanks to the powerful specifications of the individual components which Xiaomi use in their devices. What’s more, Xiaomi devices are well put-together at the assembly level.

Substantial profit margins

Most amazing of all, Xiaomi is able to offer quality products at affordable prices, and still make plenty of profit for themselves. Quite consistently, Xiaomi has posted profits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Xiaomi can thank low manufacturing costs for their high-profit margins. These low manufacturing costs are likely due to the low cost of labor in China, as well as the significant economy of scale which arises when manufacturing so many devices.

Weaknesses

Admittedly, Xiaomi does have one particular Weakness holding them back:

Weak brand perception

Xiaomi is a Chinese electronics brand. Unfortunately, Chinese products are viewed as inferior in some parts of the world — especially the United States. This means that Xiaomi has had a hard time penetrating these prejudiced markets. Furthermore, Xiaomi has a relatively weak brand perception overall. It’s viewed primarily as a budget option by consumers around the world, and not as a leader in build quality and performance. This perception leads Xiaomi devices to be dismissed by many consumers despite their budgetary constraints.

Opportunities

Here are Xiaomi’s most notable Opportunities:

New geographic markets

The global GDP is rising, and, as a result, consumers have more and more money to spend on electronics. As a result, the smartphone and electronics market is growing organically. This is especially true for some geographic regions, where previously devices were too expensive to even consider. Xiaomi has a fantastic opportunity to capture these emerging markets, such as Africa or India, thanks to their great prices. This is a particularly powerful opportunity for Xiaomi, since it only involves competing against other budget-conscious manufacturers, such as Huawei, but not luxury brands like Apple.

Brick and mortar stores

Unlike Samsung or Apple, Xiaomi has made little effort to grow its brand with the use of brick and mortar stores. While Xiaomi does have a few “Mi Stores” located around the world, they could certainly invest in some more. These brick and mortar stores would not only improve Xiaomi’s offline sales channels, but they would also improve the company’s perception as a luxury or high-quality brand. It’s worth mentioning that much of Xiaomi’s sales are currently accounted for with eCommerce.

Green branding

On the topic of branding, Xiaomi has another opportunity for growth. By pitching themselves as a “green brand” — i.e. an environmentally-friendly brand — Xiaomi may be able to set themselves apart from the crowd. There’s a growing environmental consciousness, especially in more developed countries, and Xiaomi may be able to profit from this while saving the planet! Naturally, this would be a two-step process. First, Xiaomi would need to ensure their manufacturing processes are as green as possible — by reducing and managing waste products and pollutants. Secondly, Xiaomi would need to go about promoting this message with some clever marketing tactics.

Threats

Like every company, Xiaomi faces some Threats:

High competition

The smartphone and electronics industries have a reputation for being cutthroat competitive. Most players in these markets are well-established brands with plenty of capital to support them. This means they are capable of large marketing campaigns, long legal battles, and plenty of investment into new technology. Xiaomi is a relatively new electronics manufacturer, so they’ll need to be extra careful they’re not pushed out of the market. It wouldn’t take a lot for a premium manufacturer such as Apple to offer a more budget-friendly device, and that could have devastating consequences. Xiaomi should definitely keep their guard up.

Poor customer service infrastructure

Xiaomi has seen extremely quick growth over recent years, selling many millions of smartphones. However, there have been reports that Xiaomi lacks the customer service infrastructure to adequately serve all of their recently-acquired customers. If there were to be a model-wide issue with one of Xiaomi’s products, they may find themselves with more support tickets than they can manage, and plenty of unhappy customers.

SWOT Analysis of Xiaomi: Final Thoughts

Overall, Xiaomi is in a pretty good place. Offering extremely high-quality products and great prices — and making a profit while doing so — is a solid foundation for any business. Unfortunately, Xiaomi has a relatively weak brand. However, this presents new areas for Xiaomi to work on, such as green branding or brick and mortar stores. Also in terms of Opportunities, Xiaomi might be able to capture many of the emerging smartphone markets in less developed areas, such as Africa. As always, Xiaomi needs to be careful with their competition, and should probably invest some more money into customer service to avoid a PR disaster!

Image “Xiaomi Mi 5“ by Maurizio Pesce is licensed under CC-BY 2.0