Xiaomi appoints founding member Tse as GM of India unit

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The logo of Xiaomi inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Indian unit of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp said on Friday it has appointed founding member Alvin Tse as its general manager, a change of guard as the company faces government scrutiny over its business practices.

Tse, a British national who was also the former general manager of Xiaomi Indonesia, has helped the company expand into many global markets, Xiaomi India said in a tweet.

The organisational rejig will also have Anuj Sharma rejoin the company as the chief marketing officer.

The development comes nearly two months after India’s federal financial-crime fighting agency summoned former Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain in an investigation on whether the company’s business practices conformed with Indian foreign exchange laws, two sources had told Reuters.

The Enforcement Directorate also seized $725 million from the company’s local bank accounts after a probe found the smartphone maker had made illegal remittances to foreign entities by passing them off as royalty payments.

The Chinese company says its royalty payments were all legitimate and were for the “in-licensed technologies and IPs” used in its Indian products.

However, an Indian court has put the agency’s decision to seize the amount on hold following a legal challenge by Xiaomi.

Xiaomi, which also sells other tech gadgets, including smart watches and televisions, has a lot riding on the Indian market.

The company is best known, however, for its affordable smartphone price range that has helped it grow rapidly in India. In March, the company told analysts it retained “the #1 position in India for 17 consecutive quarters.”

Its market share has quadrupled from just 6% in 2016 to 24% last year, making it the Indian market leader, according to Counterpoint Research.

The company has 1,500 employees in India and provides a source of income for at least 52,000 workers employed by its third-party manufacturers, it said in its court filing.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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