Success is what we strive for. Although the definition of success may vary from person to
person, the very foundation of success is strengthened when the person is truly happy from
within. Whether you believe it or not, career is what brings us fulfilment, happiness and
In this blog of Vitamin I, we are going to talk about the person; we all can seek inspiration from.
The Vice president at a leading internet company, Xiaomi, the journey of Manu Jain is worth
Even if you might not be an avid reader, I am pretty sure you might have heard of this Tech
Company called Xiaomi. Now there might be a possibility that you might have misunderstood it
merely as a mobile brand. Let’s correct that, and label Xiaomi as an Internet company, because
that is what Xiaomi truly is from within. Talking about Manu Jain, who is currently the managing
director at Xiaomi India, started off as an individual employee back in 2014, when the company
decided to bring Xiaomi in India.
Life and career before becoming the managing director at Xiaomi India.
Manu Jain belongs to a traditional middle-class joint family in Meerut with a business background.
However, Manu always aspired to make a difference while all his cousins were planning to get
ahead with traditional family shop business. He wanted to be a part of something that would
sustain larger than life, something that would stay even after him. After pursuing his B Tech
from IIT Delhi and PGDM from IIM Calcutta, he joined Mc. Kinsey as an engagement manager
and stayed there for nearly 5 years.
In 2012, Jain co-founded Jabong with his junior from IIT Calcutta Praveen Sinha. Now, did this
happen overnight? No, Manu was quite skeptical about an idea of selling clothes and shoes
online. And naturally so, after all, a large proportion of the market was offline. It took nearly 2
months of convincing to finally get him on board. Jabong became his successful venture where
he served as a managing director for nearly 2 years, i.e. till Jan 2014. The company led the
charts of the E-Commerce industry and was at par with competitors like Flipkart and Myntra.
Why was he inspired to get in the mobile industry?
While at Jabong, Manu noticed that nearly 60% of the transactions happened through mobile
devices. We are talking about the time when smartphones came with mini 2-3 inch screen size.
This happened even when Jabong’s mobile site was not responsive in nature. He identified the
need that was to become the greatest trend in the mobile industry. And look at how refined the mobile
industry is today.
But there also existed nearly 300 smartphone brands in India.
How did Xiaomi happen to him?
Manu left Jabong in Jan 2014, to settle with his family in Bangalore. Meanwhile, he stumbled
across an article on web mentioning about the great potential this Chinese startup called
Xiaomi holds. The philosophy of people at Xiaomi was very simple.
To offer best specs high-quality products at honest pricing making it accessible for all.
In inception since, 2010, Xiaomi was focusing on strengthening its foundation in China and by
then had launched only 1 product. Through his connections, Manu got in touch with one of
Xiaomi founders and they began exchanging their views on Indian and Chinese landscape.
Xiaomi was planning to spread its operations in India and approached Manu to undertake their
Indian operations. Manu’s mentors and friends in the mobile industry warned him about the failure
he would face. Yet, he undertook this opportunity in May 2014 and started Xiaomi in India as a
How was Xiaomi different than other mobile brands?
Back then, in 2014, the Indian market was skewed and extremely fragmented. Mobile Brands
heavily focused on traditional offline sales. These brands spent millions of dollars on marketing
campaigns and retail sales were their only mode of sales. Xiaomi India adopted an online mode
of sales when only 6% of the mobile market was online. They were getting into something that no
one had ever done before. If we look at today’s scenario, we can without any doubt claim
Xiaomi to disrupt the smart ecosystem in India.
There were various parameters where Xiaomi went off board compared to other mobile
- Xiaomi adopted an ultra aggressive online sales strategy. They spent 0 dime on
marketing in the first 3 years of launch. They relied on social media marketing and it
really paid off well.
- Honest pricing. All Xiaomi products have capped margins of 5%, making it truly
- Home market strategy in India. Manu clearly understands that India isn’t a homogenous
country. They adopted a varied approach to penetrate sales in India.
- Of all the 4p’s, product holds prominence over price, promotion and place.
- Only brand to take a box on product, quality and price.
Journey from 2014-2020
Xiaomi India scheduled its first official launch through an exclusive platform of Flipkart, in July
2014. Flipkart’s website crashed for the very first time with insane traffic on Xiaomi launch.
The company sold 10000 units within the very first week of launch and then the success saga
continues. The company turned profitable within the first year of its operations. It became the
dominant online player amongst varied mobile brands. Manu took a rather unconventional step
of makings its offerings offline after gaining considerable share in the online market. The very first
exclusive flagship store of MI launched in 2017 in Bangalore and has more than 500 MI stores
across India today. Today Xiaomi leads the market with its diversified portfolio of tech
appliances. He is the firm supporter of Modiji’s Make in India campaign and is planning on
establishing more manufacturing plants in India.
While ruling the world with their tech innovations, Manu Jain firmly believes that it is the
people that make Xiaomi the leading Internet Company. It is the people that matters the most.
While Manu is proficiently pushing the company to its new heights, he aspires to be the
cartoonist. In fact, he has cofounded DINK couple, a comic cartoon series after her exit stint
from Mc. Kinsey.
A trendsetter, A solution seeker and most importantly the people’s person, Manu Jain truly is
an example for all of us.
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