It’s Official: Xiaomi is now in the Philippines!



Local tech circles have heard of Xiaomi’s dominance in the mobile phone market in China and they are eagerly anticipating its arrival in our shores after their announcement of expanding their business to other countries.

Xiaomi, on the other hand was already working under the radar here in the Philippines: hired a Product Manager, established an office, and met with different groups. The only clue the public learned was the creation of Xiaomi Philippines Facebook account last weekend.

Hugo Barra, former VP for Android Product Management of Google and now VP for Xiaomi’s Global Operations. I call him the “God of Android!”

Last Monday, Xiaomi’s PR invited selected group of journalists and bloggers to have a private meeting with their team. I am still in awe up to now, because I still can’t believe I would meet this person who used to be the VP for Android Product Management in Google – Hugo Barra! Hugo is now the VP of Xiaomi Global and I got a chance to interview him after the meeting which you will see later. He gave us a presentation of Xiaomi (we learned that Xiaomi is the company name while Mi is the brand name) and explained the beauty and efficiency of the MIUI, Mi’s operating system.

Things worth mentioning here after the meeting:

  • Mi products will only be sold via e-commerce, meaning you will not be able to buy any of these phones from any local stores.
  • The e-commerce site will accept cash-on-delivery as mode of payment. This solves the issue that majority of Filipinos not having credit cards.
  • How are they able to keep the prices low? No need to deal with middlemen. No need for traditional marketing. Everything is marketed and sold on the internet! Also, they have strategic alliances with groups like Qualcomm.
  • No idea yet which phone model will be sold first.
  • Their UHD TV is something to watch out for! (I will get one from them when it becomes available!)
  • They REALLY listen to their customers. They update their MIUI software every week based on users’ comments. According to rumors, even the box of the Mi 3 was also suggested by Mi’s customers.
  • Anne Olvido, employee #1 of Xiaomi Philippines was a former Community Manager of Google Developers Group (GDG) Philippines. She’s also a good friend since we first met at the Philippine Android Community and Mobile Monday meetups.
  • After-sales will not be a problem. A Mi Home will be established which also showcases all the products for customers to play with while they wait for their phones to be repaired. Did I say “while they wait?” Of course I did! Hugo mentioned that their standard time for repairs is 2 hours!!
  • MIUI is so awesome!! I kid you not!!

Here’s my interview with the God of Android divided into two parts:

Here are some of the pictures of Mi’s product line:

Mi Pad

Mi Battery Pack

Mi Power Bank

Remote for the Mi TV

Remote for the Mi TV

Mi WiFi

Mi WiFi

Piston Earbuds

Phone Cases

Since we are in the Selfie Capital of the Philippines, Hugo was game enough for us to have a selfie!


And the 4 of us tech bloggers invited to the event had a pictorial with Team Xiaomi.

(back) Gian Viterbo of, Mr. Arel Virtusio of Virtusio Public Relations, Hugo Barra of Xiaomi, Joey Abiog of, Anne Olvido – Product Manager of Xiaomi Philippines, John Chen – PR of Xiaomi. (front) Mark Macanas of and myself.


There’s a very big possibility that it will. I have received several inquiries from the Telco industry and they seemed to be alarmed, if not shaking in fear of Xiaomi’s presence in the country. Smartphones with high-end specs at low price points, they’re simply delivering these products what the customers really want: more value for money they spent. It would be interesting to know how both the local and international brands would react. Will we see more phones with high-end specs be sold at lower prices to match with Mi’s disruptive prices?




I picked up the review unit earlier this evening and will be using it as my main phone for now. If you have questions about the Mi 3, post them in the comments section or reply on my FB page or Twitter.

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