Hugo Barra Greets TechPinas Community, Xiaomi Global VP Answers Questions About The Company's Operations in the Philippines

Last Monday - June 9, 2014 - at the UCC Mentore Cafe in Makati City, I - along with other Filipino technology bloggers - got the wonderful opportunity to meet and have a conversation with Mr. Hugo Barra, Google's former Vice President for Android Product Management and the current Vice President of Xiaomi Global.

Hugo Barra, Mark Milan Macanas, Xiaomi Philippines
"I'm a big Android fan, Hugo. Thank you for being one of the key people to bring Android to the global platform," I told him during our interview.

Like what I shared on this blog a month ago, Xiaomi has chosen the Philippines to be one of ten countries where the breakout and disruptive Chinese electronics company intends to commence operations as part of its plans for global expansion. In line with this, Hugo visited Pinas primarily to meet Filipino tech bloggers and the local media - both online and traditional - and to let us in on how Xiaomi plans to operate locally as well as to show us the brand's current product line-up, which include the Xiaomi Mi3 flagship release, the RedMi Note phablet, and the Mi Pad Android tablet, among others.

Last week, I asked you if you have any questions you want me to ask Hugo and as promised, I passed them all to him along with a few of mine when we got the chance to talk. "Of the many countries clamoring for Xiaomi, why did the company choose the Philippines?" "How does Xiaomi intend to operate in the country? Are there any special considerations for doing business here?" "Where can Pinoys buy Xiaomi devices and where do they go should they require after-sales support?" "Will Xiaomi smartphones eventually be bundled with postpaid plans by Smart Communications and Globe Telecom?" Hugo answered all that and more (he even greeted all "TP Friends", inviting all of you to also be "Xiaomi Fans") and I got it all on video.

"First of all, we are focused on the South East Asia region to start because these are large markets with [very tech-oriented population], people that love specs and are very interested in phones with aggressive prices. Collectively speaking, when you look at Philippines along with Indonesia, Thailand [and other countries in the region], it's a very significant market and it's one that's relatively close to us. The Philippines is following right after Malaysia, honestly, because it's the one that's gonna be ready first; It was the fastest process among the remaining countries [in terms of dealing with] customs, certifications, and imports [...] It was actually very smooth that's why we are here first," Hugo told me. It's in the video and I would suggest that you watch and clip and share it with your friends as it contains lots of juicy information about the brand's presence in the country.

Xiaomi Philippines will be formally commencing its operations in a few hours - tonight at 7:30, to be exact. By then, we'll finally get official details on the products that the Chinese company will be bringing to the Philippines including their suggested retail price and exact release date. Stay tuned for updates!