Xiaomi official meets with PH startups

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


HUGO Barra, Xiaomi Global vice president and formerly Google VP for Android product management, stirred excitement in the local tech startup community during his visit in Manila as he shared tips on how new companies can grow their business in the digital space.

The meet-up was organized by Xiaomi, represented by Philippine Product Manager Elizabeth Anne Olvido, and hosted by Kickstart Ventures, Inc., a wholly-owned incubator and investment firm of Globe Telecom, to enable startup companies under its portfolio as well as its local partners to benefit from Barra’s deep understanding of the mobile market.

Kickstart President Minette Navarrete said, “Xiaomi’s origins and character resonate with startup founders everywhere in the world: dream big, start small, scale fast.

Hugo Barra is widely respected for his skills: he must be one of the best product people in the world.”

“This visit is amazingly helpful, and truly inspirational to the tech community in the Philippines. We’re so pleased to have him come and have these intense and down-to-earth conversations with startup founders here,” she said.

Barra earlier announced that the rapidly-growing Chinese mobile phone firm has chosen the Philippines as its third market in Southeast Asia, a development that augurs well for the tech startups.

Paul Rivera, CEO and co-founder of online talent management and assessment firm Kalibrr, said “This shows just how exciting the Philippines will be as a market for smartphone makers and those who make apps for them. This will bring an entire generation of people online who will be mobile first.”

During the discussion, Barra advised startup founders to build excellent software, adjust their plans depending on customer uptake, know their customers, and think of the price that users are willing to pay.

Xiaomi knows their target customers well and lets their products grow with them. “The first 10,000 customers matter so much so I have to acquire the right customers,” Barra said. He said that for Xiaomi, it means that they must build a “loyal, excited, vocal community of tech enthusiasts.”

“They have chosen not to go the usual route of getting an endorser. They believe their products can stand on their own and sell. After seeing their high-end smartphone test unit, we agreed with that belief,” said Jonathan Earl Lansangan, COO and co-founder of Dynamic Objx Labs Inc, a Manila-based software development company that specializes in building web-based applications, mobile device applications, and
Software-as-a-service (SAAS) products.

In 2012, Xiaomi sold 7.2 million smartphones and more than doubled the number the following year by selling 18.7 million handsets. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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