Xiaomi, a Chinese phone giant looking to boost its profile in global markets, is attempting the mother of all publicity stunts: delivering phones to customers by Uber. This morning, Uber announced that it would ferry Xiaomi’s new Mi Note smartphone to users in Singapore and Malaysia.
In a Facebook post announcing the launch, Xiaomi global head Hugo Barra said sales would kick off on July 27. He explained that customers would be able to request a phone delivery much like they already do an Uber ride:
Ordering a Mi Note follows the exact same process as calling for an Uber — you simply open the Uber app, use the slider at the bottom to select “Xiaomi” (which shows Xiaomi-orange colored Uber cars on the map equipped to deliver the new smartphone), and hit request. Payment will be charged directly to the credit card tied to your Uber account and a Mi Note will be delivered to you within a few minutes. Pretty cool, right?
Xiaomi, an industry leader in China, has struggled to penetrate foreign markets; the company poached Barra from Google’s product management team to oversee its international expansion. It’s unclear whether this marketing move benefits Xiaomi or Uber more: Both are publicity-hungry companies eager for expansion in the very profitable markets of Singapore and Malaysia.
Earlier this year, Xiaomi overtook Uber as the world’s most profitable startup. The partnership is a first for the two companies.