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Flash sale pioneer Xiaomi opens old-school, bricks-and-mortar shop

Beijing location makes buying in pyjamas a bit embarrassing

Mobile phone industry disruptor Xiaomi has gone all traditional and opened up a shop.

Xiaomi made its name by undercutting other smartphone makers and doing flash sales on the internet, offering time-limited, knock-down deals that saw thousands of phones sold every second. The idea that you might have just walked into a shop, handed over cash and walked out with a phone was archaic.

The first Xiaomi store is at the Beijing Modern Plaza, and following Xiaomi’s aping of Apple, the shop has clean shelves, open spaces and huge wooden tables. Customers can get help regarding their phone from people who are so smart you might be able to call them “geniuses”.

Details of the shopping emporium have appeared on Chinese-language site

The whole range of Xiaomi products is on show and there are repair and warranty claims services, but it seems that actual purchasing is still online, with the staff leading you to a terminal to log in and buy the device.

This is akin to the way you buy a Tesla car. Showrooms only show the cars: you buy one online.

It’s not clear if the Xiaomi shop is a toe-in-the-water flagship or a plan to change the model. Both Nokia and Samsung have had shops in major world capitals, but that was more of a brand-building exercise than a route to market. ®

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