Xiaomi tries to end waiting period for phone buyers, amid complaints

Xiaomi has received complaints for offering limited quanities of its phones in "flash sales"

Targeting sales of 80 million phones this year, Xiaomi is planning to end "flash sales" of small quantities of its best-selling products.

The fast-rising company is China's largest smartphone vendor, but its devices haven't always been easy to buy. Xiaomi typically sells limited quantities of its smartphones once a week through its website, forcing customers to often scramble to place orders online.

Chinese media have dubbed Xiaomi's distribution model as a form of "hungry marketing", that leaves consumers starving for more products. It's also been the harshest complaint leveled against the company, said Xiaomi president Lin Bin on Tuesday.

"People think the hungry marketing is deliberate, that we deliberately don't offer open sales," he said, while speaking at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

Once a small startup with limited funds, Xiaomi has been using the flash-sales model for years as a way to avoid over-production. Lin said the company was now working to reduce the long wait for its phones.

Waiting in line to buy the phones is not something everyone will accept, he said. "This form of e-commerce experience has been problematic."

It's two newest flagship phones, the Xiaomi Note and Xiaomi Mi 4, have recently become available for open sale, and no longer require a wait, he added. "We hope that we can offer our best-selling phones fast, so that people don't have to wait in line for them," he said.

Last year, the company sold 60 million phones. To reach its target of 80 million phones this year, the company has to sell at least 7 to 8 million phones each month, Lin said. The company gets its phones made by Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group.

Xiaomi, however, isn't just focused on selling to China. Last week, it launched its newest phone in India, and the company has been gradually expanding across other Asian markets.

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Michael Kan

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