Xiaomi bets big on financial services in India

NEW DELHI: Chinese handset maker Xiaomi said it aims to become one of the largest financial-technology companies in India through its Mi Credit lending service and Mi Pay application and the expansion of its financial product portfolio with new services such as insurance and supply chain financing, which it already offers in China.

It has started talks with banks and more nonbanking financial companies to launch more services, having brought on board Aditya Birla Finance, 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, cofounder of Xiaomi Corporation, told ET.

He said that Xiaomi has about 45 million active Mi Credit users in China.

The company is hunting for fin-tech startups for possible collaboration through partnerships 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,” said Manu Jain, vice president of Xiaomi.

Xiaomi had invested in Bengaluru-based startup KrazyBee to start 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 revolutionise the Indian fin-tech industry,” Hong said, adding that Xiaomi will bring more proven products to India from China.

Xiaomi disbursed over Rs 28 crore of loans in November through the Mi Credit app. Over 20% of the users availed the highest loan amount of Rs 1 lakh. Mi Credit services more than 10 states spanning across 1,500 pin code areas and aims to expand its availability to all pin codes or more than 19,000 postal zones by the end of FY2019-20 or March 2020-end.

Jain said Xiaomi is expecting its finance business to support other segments such as its hardware and internet services business in India.

“We hope our financing business will become a strong independent business,” he said.

Jain said Xiaomi has signed data privacy agreements with its 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 is 100% encrypted,” he said.


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