Xiaomi bets big on financial services in India

Chinese handset maker Xiaomi said that it is aiming to become of the largest players in the country’s fintech space through its Mi Credit lending service and Mi Pay application, even as it looks to further expand its financial products portfolio with new services like insurance and supply chain financing which it already offers in China.

It has also begun talks with bigger banks and more NBFCs to launch more financial services, having brought NBFCs or Fintechs such as Aditya Birla Finance Limited, Money View, EarlySalary, Zestmoney, and CreditVidya.

“India is the biggest market after China for Mi Credit. We are currently focused on the Indian market. We want to make it more successful and scale it up in the next 12 months…we want to be a significant player in this space,” Hong Feng, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, Xiaomi Corporation / Chairman, and CEO, Xiaomi Finance said in an interaction. He said that the company has around 45 million active users for Mi Credit in China.

The company is also hunting for fintech startups for possible collaboration through partnership route or investment to bolster its financial services bouquet. “…if there are good companies, we would be happy to evaluate [investing or collaborating with them] to launch new services,” Manu Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi said.

Xiaomi had invested in Bengaluru-based startup KrazyBee to begin a pilot of Mi Credit last year.

“We see a huge opportunity for consumer lending in India with estimations reaching up to $1 trillion dollars in digital lending by 2023, as per a report from BCG. This makes us believe that our Mi Finance business, based on solutions such as Mi Pay and Mi Credit can truly revolutionize the Indian FinTech industry,” he said, adding that Xiaomi will bring more proven products from China to India.

Xiaomi said that it has already disbursed loans of over Rs 28 crores in November 2019 via Mi Credit. Over 20% of the users have availed the highest amount of loan Rs 1 lakh. Currently, Mi Credit services more than 10 states spanning across 1,500 pin codes, and aims to expand its availability to 100% of the pin codes or more than 19,000 pin-codes by the end of FY2019.

Jain said that Xiaomi is expecting its Finance business — standalone business — to help its other business such as hardware and internet services business in India. “We hope our financing business to become a strong independent business,” he said.

The India executive said that Xiaomi has signed data privacy agreements with its current partners to secure consumer data. All user data on Mi Credit is stored securely in encrypted format in India through Amazon Web Services Cloud Infrastructure. “We ensure that all data that we pass on to our partners are 100% encrypted,” he said.

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