Can Mi Pay save Xiaomi?

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China’s struggling phone maker Xiaomi was slated to roll out its own payment platform, Mi Pay, today in a marketplace already crowded by the likes of Apple Pay, We Chat Wallet and Samsung with Huawei soon to join the fray. CEIBS Professor of Marketing JW Chiang takes 3 questions on the topic.

1.Is the China market big enough for all these players?

JWC: I think this is more of a defensive move for Xiaomi (and Huawei) as their big rivals, Samsung and Apple, both have a payment system embedded in their respective phones. Though a payment system is not necessarily a critical feature for phone selection, it is a nice differentiating feature – especially against the strong up-and-coming players in the mobile phone market such as ViVO and OPPO.

2.Can you predict a winner?

JWC: The phone makers who eventually gain more market share win. These payment systems are not a stand-alone app like Alipay. So, I think Alipay will still be the ‘king’ because it can be installed in any phone.

3. Will this help save the struggling Xiaomi?

JWC: Not really. Maybe it would help to entice its old customers to stay, but I don't believe it would help in getting new customers.

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