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Uber partners with Xiaomi to deliver Mi Note phones directly to customers

Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi has announced a partnership with cab sharing service Uber. The partnership will give Uber a large amount of Mi Note units, which can be purchased on the Uber app and delivered within one hour to the customer.

The Uber deal is only available in Singapore for now, but Xiaomi plans to expand into Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. It is an extremely good deal for those wanting to get the smartphone quickly, since Xiaomi’s own shipping service takes up to five days.

Within four minutes of placing the order, an Uber driver will be on their way. Since Uber uses geo-location to track the customer, it will be able to send the closest courier to the customer’s home.

Uber has been building out its courier service across the world for most of 2015, but hit a roadblock with Apple and Starbucks ending contracts (opens in new tab). It plans to make its workforce part-time cab drivers, part-time couriers, although some workers are unhappy with the courier’s pay.

Xiaomi’s deal is the first major contribution to Uber’s courier service in Asia. Considering China is Uber’s largest market, with four out of the ten top destinations in China (opens in new tab), it is surprising there has not been a huge surge for the courier service from businesses.

That said, Uber is not the biggest taxi service in the country. Didi Kuaidi holds over 75 per cent of the market in Mainland China (opens in new tab), and is attempting to push back Uber at any opportunity.

Announced in January, Xiaomi has been steadily rolling out the Mi Note in other countries. Hong Kong received the Mi Note a few weeks ago, and now Singapore and Malaysia are receiving the 5.7-inch phablet.

India, Brazil and other major markets are on the list for Xiaomi. It is not clear if Uber will be partnering in those regions as well—that would give Uber a reputation boost in India.

Xiaomi has always been ahead of the game on mobile integration. It started web-only pre-orders before any other company in China and has been influential on social media with flash sales and competitions to keep customers interested.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.