Manu Jain, the executive who helped Xiaomi set up and scale business in India, has left the company, he said Monday, joining a long list of high-profile departures at the local unit that is increasingly losing market share to rivals including Samsung.
Jain, who led the India business for seven years and also held global VP role, did not say why he was leaving the firm, but he has been pitching investors ideas for an EV startup for several months, people familiar with the matter said. Jain had been telling many industry figures for several quarters about his plans to leave the venture, according to many of the people with whom he has spoken.
Xiaomi entered the Indian smartphone market in 2014. In within quarters, the firm had started to make a dent in the market, undercutting rivals Samsung, OnePlus, Oppo and Vivo with higher specs phones at more affordable price.
A few years later, Xiaomi became the top smartphone vendor in India, a crown it no longer holds.
Once a key figure in the India team, Jain grappled with a big blow after the relationship between China and India soured amid escalating geopolitical tension between the neighboring nations in 2020, people familiar with the matter said.
According to one source, Jain was supposed to be elevated to a higher global role but the firm changed its mind. Jain was also summoned by India’s Enforcement Directorate, where according to Xiaomi’s own account, he faced threats of “physical violence” in a tax dispute issue.
Amid the tension at its India unit, several key Xiaomi executives including Raghu Reddy, Xiaomi India business head, have left the firm in recent quarters.
Xiaomi did not respond to a request for comment in December. Jain did not respond to multiple requests for comment throughout last year.
“I joined the Xiaomi Group in 2014 to start its India journey. The first few years were full of ups and downs. We started as a one-person startup, working from a small little office. We were the smallest amongst the hundreds of smartphone brands, that too with limited resources and no prior relevant industry experience,” Jain said in a statement.
In his long statement Monday, Jain did not comment on Xiaomi’s dwindling market share in India and other shrinking India leadership team.