The Mi Man

At Xiaomi, India head Manu Kumar Jain wants to continue like a start-up and aims to scale his team up to 50 members by the first anniversary.
 Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: March 15, 2015
Xiaomi India Head Manu Kumar Jain
Xiaomi India Head Manu Kumar Jain (Photo: Nilotpal Baruah)

MANU KUMAR JAIN
India Head, Xiaomi
GOAL IN LIFE: Wants to do something different, something that would impact a large number of people.
BEST LEADERSHIP LESSON: Make sure that everyone who is in a leadership role should try to groom others. Have an honest discussion with everyone.

How many people in the world would take time off work and go backpacking to a country just to see the operations of a company? Manu Kumar Jain did just that in October 2013. He was curious to see how Chinese handset maker Xiaomi's dramatically different online-only sales model worked and went all the way to meet the Xiaomi team in Beijing, after exchanging a few calls with Bin Lin, Co-founder and President of the company. The reward: when Xiaomi launched in India in July 2014, it looked no further than Jain to head its country operations.

Within six months of its launch, Xiaomi had sold over a million phones through flash sales on Flipkart.com. Jain and his 19-member team in Bangalore created so much buzz around the snazzy phones that potential buyers would log in hours before the sale opened.

Meerut-born Jain graduated from IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta but his career path was far from conventional. From working for a company that created software for investment banks, to McKinsey in Zambia, and then co-founding online retailer Jabong, Jain took several risks. At Xiaomi, Jain wants to continue like a start-up and aims to scale his team up to 50 members by the first anniversary. Myshkin Ingawale, Chief of Staff, India, Xiaomi Technology, says Manu is a "detail-oriented person, who is focused on creating a culture based on performance over hierarchy".

An early bird, Jain starts his day at 5 a.m. He likes to wind down early, too, making sure he reaches home so that he gets to spend some time with his one-year-old kid. An avid Iron Man fan, he loves to read, but on weekends he and his wife make it a point to meet someone new or someone they haven't met in a long time.

FULL COVERAGE:India's Hottest Young Executives 2015

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