Xiaomi entered India with online retailer Flipkart.com in July, selling phones through flash sales whereby availability is limited to short time frames. The online strategy cuts down on marketing and distribution costs, allowing Xiaomi to sell feature-rich phones at low prices.
But last week, Bharti Airtel said it would sell Redmi Note 4G handsets in six cities through 133 stores of India's biggest fourth-generation (4G) mobile network provider. In-store handset prices in India are comparable to online models because neither are sold with network chips or subsidised through pricing plans.
"If this works out fine, we'll expand the partnership to other cities and other devices," Manu Jain, head of Xiaomi in India, said on Wednesday, adding that it was too early to form any concrete plans yet.
Making models available in stores - as Xiaomi does in China - could help the fast-growing startup reach more users in the world's third-largest smartphone market as Bharti promotes the handsets to attract subscribers to its 4G service.