Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi said on Thursday it will open 100 stores in India this year to help consumers "experience" the company's devices. However, the world's third-largest smartphone market, will not sell them at these stores. The 'service and experience stores' will launch in cities including Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore in the first week of April, Manu Jain, Xiaomi's India head, told reporters in New Delhi at the launch of the company's latest budget smartphone.
Xiaomi entered India in July and sells its phones primarily through flash sales on online retailer Flipkart.com.
India is considered the next biggest market for smartphone makers, given the huge potential demand. The country's smartphone usage only stands at 30 percent.
Besides Xiaomi, Samsung is trying to bolster the global sales of low-end handsets to maintain its leading market presence.
The South Korean tech giant has recently decided to roll out the new budget smartphone model Galaxy J1 in the Netherlands and Germany, expanding its target countries to Europe from emerging markets including India and Malaysia.
The Galaxy J1 is the cheapest model in Samsung's budget phone lineups that work on the long-term evolution (LTE) network, priced at about 100,000 won ($89) in the local currency.
Its release came on the heels of the debuts of Samsung's other budget smartphones: the Galaxy A, Galaxy E and Galaxy Z, all of which were introduced between December and January starting in China and India.