Xiaomi doubles down on financial services business; says need regulatory clarity on crypto, Telecom News, ET Telecom

NEW DELHI: Handset maker Xiaomi is doubling down on its financial service business with diversification into a full spectrum lending platform with clear focus on payment, lending and insurance verticals. The business, which started under its internet services business, is now operating as an independent business due to the market size and renewed focus.

Under lending, the company has now started offering business loans and will soon launch gold loan. It has also started offering credit line card.

The business was impacted severely due to the pandemic and Xiaomi’s partners shifted focus from giving out fresh loans to recovering the money from customers last year.

“It is no longer a subset because it is big enough, right. In Hong Kong, India, and China in various other places, it is significantly big enough to be an independent business,” Manu Kumar Jain, managing director of Xiaomi India told ET in an interaction.

Xiaomi’s financial service business returned to growth with 95% increase in business in the January-March quarter compared to the October-December period of 2020.

“We have seen 35% year-on-year growth in Q1 2021, but we saw a dip due to the second wave of Covid. However, we are again growing at a significant pace quarter on quarter, despite facing that downturn for like two quarters,” Jain said.

Ashish Khandelwal, Head, Financial Services, Xiaomi India said that its financial service business is running as a marketplace for various partners that offer their services on Xiaomi’s platform. “…our ability to serve customers was a bit compromised given the COVID situation last year, but there’s something we have been able to sail through. It is the right time for us to make it a full blown proportion.”

Xiaomi is working with Axis bank, IDFC bank, Aditya Birla Finance Limited, Money View, Early Salary and Credit Vidya for lending service. For the credit line card offering, it has joined hands with Stashfin, while the health and cyber insurance service is being offered in partnership with ICICI Lombard.

Jain said that the company has disbursed over 1 lakh loans with loan amount of up to Rs 25 lakhs and is operating across 22,000 pincodes.

Mi Pay is growing fast with a 50 million strong user base in the country.

Asked if Xiaomi would venture into the growing cryptocurrency, Jain said, “we will want to wait for all the regulatory things. Of course, crypto is an area, which is extremely interesting, and is the biggest buzzword and is doing exceptionally well. But, we would want to understand more on the regulation side.”

Xiaomi had in 2019 invested in Bengaluru-based startup KrazyBee for the Mi Credit service. On startup investment, Jain said that the new regulations require certain approvals to make an investment and as always.

“…we would want to be 100% compliant with all local laws at every level, whether it is the central government, state government, or even city level government. Right now, no immediate plans or any kind of investments.”

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