Xiaomi – What is it?

What and why Xiaomi? I believe none of you never heard that Chinese word before. But wait, the word is more than just a word. Xiaomi is the name of a Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics. The brand itself being very popular as world’s largest smartphone maker to compete directly with – and being strongest rival to – Apple, Samsung, Blackberry and HTC.

xiaomi mascot in action cool

Xiaomi Inc. was founded on April 6, 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun, who is also the company’s chairman and CEO. The team consists of 10 awesome people being expert of various technology related things including the Vice President Hugo Barra which formerly was Vice President of Android Product Management at Google. Yet, three of the top nine leadership positions in Xiaomi are occupied by ex-Googlers: Lin Bin, co-founder, president; Hong Feng, co-founder, vice president; and Hugo Barra, vice president.

The company exists from Lei Jun’s idea. He believes that high-quality technology doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Hence, Xiaomi is also being well-known for its cheap but high quality Android phone powered with a bunch of awesome hardware specifications. Thanks to their strategy by selling direct to customers to keep the prices always competitive. To profit from the narrow margin, Xiaomi sells a model for up to 18 months instead of the short 6 months used by Samsung to profit from the fall in the costs of components that occurs over time. Xiaomi also profits by selling phone-related peripheral devices, smart home gadgetry, in addition to apps, online videos and themes. You can browse all Xiaomi devices here.

For your information, Xiaomi means “little rice” in Chinese. ‘Xiao’ means little and ‘mi’ is rice. Also, as with many other Chinese words, the name isn’t generally correctly pronounced so it is also understandable as Xiǎomǐ Kējì which is literally “millet technology.” But the MI word that Xiaomi also uses as its logo is an acronym for Mobile Internet, but the company also says it has other meanings like Mission Impossible because the founder was faced by many obstacles and critics in starting the company so he even thought what he wanted to accomplish was quite impossible at that time.

Xiaomi has a mascot which is a bunny called Mitu who wears a Ushanka (Lei Feng hat). The mascot is very cute and unique.

Image credit: http://www.mi.com/en/about/

Did you know! Xiaomi ranks No. 2 in the list of 50 Smartest Companies 2015 by MIT Technology Review, noting that “the fast-growing smartphone vendor is maturing beyond its original ‘cut-price Apple’ model with ideas like flash sales over its mobile messaging platform”; No. 3 in the list of Most Innovative Companies 2014 by Fast Company, “for reinventing the smartphone business model in the world’s largest mobile market”; and No. 35 in the list of the Most Innovative Companies 2014 compiled by The Boston Consulting Group (src: Wikipedia).

So why Xiaomi?

Firstly because they are so innovative. Also Xiaomi Inc. also now is a popular smartphone brand. Of course Xiaomi’s popularity is not something that comes in an instant but the quality has proven that Xiaomi deserves being popular. The reason is simple: Xiaomi can deliver high specification Android phones at very competitive price cutting unnecessary cost to keep the price low. For example, Xiaomi does not own a single physical store and instead sells exclusively from its own online store. Xiaomi also did away with traditional advertising and relies on social networking services as well as its own customers to help advertise its products. It means Xiaomi built customers’ trust and loyalty via unique marketing strategy without making it as an overhead cost.

Shortly, many compare Xiaomi to Apple. Some said Xiaomi is often called the Apple of China, because it popularity and smartphone design that is similar to Apple. The Apple comparison doesn’t end there. Xiaomi’s founder and CEO Lei Jun is also referred to as the Steve Jobs of China. The black-t-shirt-wearing Lei Jun has a Jobs-like cult following.

Heard enough? So why not? Use Xiaomi!

*Mascot image credit: http://www.miui.com/forum.php