Kenya’s first Mi Home, as Chinese brand Xiaomi’s retail stores are known, opened its doors in Nairobi today to an impressive reception from the brand’s fans who had been streaming in since early morning in readiness for the official launch.
The store, located at The Hub mall in Karen, is said to stock up to 300 variations of the various products that the Beijing-based brand sells. They range from bags to rice cookers, to vacuum cleaning robots to electric scooters to, well, smartphones.
On the launch day, as had been promised the Redmi Note 7, the headline smartphone on offer at the Mi Home store (even with the Mi 9 present), had been discounted. As were Xiaomi’s wired headphones that had dropped in price by as much as 75% and were in such high demand that purchases had to be limited to 1 per person.
Also on offer were drones, wireless charging pads and products from Xiaomi’s smart home brand Yeelight like smart bulbs and lighting strips.
Conspicuously missing from the Mi Home store are Xiaomi’s well-crafted Mi Pad tablets, routers (though we did spot their repeater) which we have no defined date on when they will be available as well as the brand’s popular television sets.
The TV sets, which have been rumoured to be making their way to the country for a while now, are expected to be made available starting next month (August).
Xiaomi’s latest bestseller, the fourth generation of its Mi Band fitness tracker, was also missing in action with only the Mi Band 3 being available. However, we are reliably informed that it will be in stock soon. As will the Mi Box S, arguably one of the best Android TV media streamers in the country.
Also set to be unveiled in coming months are more Mi Home stores in Nairobi with eyes set on the Sarit Centre and Westgate shopping malls in Westlands and somewhere in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).
The physical stores complement the Xiaomi brand’s online presence. Before the Mi Home’s launch, Xiaomi devices, especially smartphones, have been available for purchase through online channels like e-commerce store Jumia Kenya as well as several brick and mortar partners.
If the huge turnout by “Mi Fans” at today’s launch is anything to go by then it can only be assumed that the message did indeed get home and that Gree Chain International, the company behind the Xiaomi brand’s local presence, will not be letting this momentum die and that there will not only be more stores opening but that there will be a much more diverse product portfolio at even better prices.