The ever-present Chinese tech manufacturer Xiaomi has fallen behind recently with the onslaught of fellow Chinese companies like Oppo and Huawei gaining momentum both in China and internationally.
Even so, they have been releasing a whole host of innovative products to captivate the masses, from drones, laptops, and now even a mirrorless camera.
As part of plans to create a more tangible experience for their customers, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has laid out a plan which will see the company set up some 1,000 retail stores before the end of 2020. This is a stark contrast to their existing business model in which they prioritise online sales.
It looks like one of those stores has arrived, and it is in Singapore.
Suntec City is the place to be
On Friday afternoon, after much teasing on social media, Xiaomi officially unveiled their new flagship store in Singapore.
Located in Suntec City, this marks the first time that Xiaomi has opened a full fledged retail store outside of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
This is a move that may potentially hint of grander plans to open more international stores.
The Singapore store is not 100 per cent run by Xiaomi though, and is a product of a collaborative effort with Singapore's current go-to tech e-commerce site Lazada, which will manage the sales.
What can you buy there?
In it, you can find the the full range of smartphones available which you can also find from Mi Singapore's online store. Get a hands-on experience of the flagship Mi 5, Mi Max, right down to the affordable Redmis, before making your purchases on the spot.
Of course, there's the familiar and hugely popular powerbanks too, with the latest Pro models that incorporate USB C charging also for sale.
Other accessories which you can find here also include the Mi Band 2, if you are looking for an affordable fitness tracker; several models of their earphones, bluetooth speakers, backpacks, and even luggages for your holiday needs.
If you want to watch your weight, they have a weighing scale for sale too.
What you can't buy there
All the stuff on sale so far are great and all, but what Mi fans internationally are really yearning for are the cool products that is usually reserved for sale in China.
Products such as the Mi Drones, Notebook Air, 4K Mi TVs, even Mi rice cookers were all on display for users to get a feel of, but down below comes a pasted tag which reads in bold "NOT FOR SALE".
A pity, and a missed opportunity, if you asked me.
Limited units should have been made available, or if not, have a process for pre-orders in small quantities, in order to 'test the market'.
To be honest, people are already quite bored with Mi phones and powerbanks, and for those who want one - chances are they already own one.
The reality is, there is demand for these products, and Singaporeans have even been importing them in through online channels, or even purchase them during trips to China or Hong Kong.
If Xiaomi truly wants to trump Oppo and Huawei, they must look beyond just stocking their smartphones, and with their inventory of exciting products they certainly have the means to do so.