Xiaomi is on fire right now. For those who don’t know, Xiaomi is a smartphone maker exclusively in China. Like Google and their Nexus phones, the company sells their devices below their actual value and makes up the difference with their platform. How popular are they right now? They’re currently China’s 3rd largest e-commerce company and their latest release, the $130 Hongmi, sold 100,000 in literally 90 seconds and currently has over 7 million reservations. To put some context on that, the HTC One took a few months to sell 10 million units. The Hongmi nearly did it a few hours.
The company only asks for one thing in return. That is to not be compared to Apple. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently did an interview with Reuters where Lei expressly states that Xiaomi is nothing like Apple. As Lei told Reuters:
If people really want to compare Xiaomi to a foreign company, you can say it looks a bit like Apple. But it’s really more like Amazon with some elements of Google. So take these three companies together and it’s easier to clearly understand what kind of company Xiaomi is. Xiaomi selling mobile phones is like Amazon selling Kindles. So you can understand why we sell them for so cheap.
As stated, they perform business like Google and Amazon wherein they sell their devices for cheap and make all their money off of their platform. For those wondering, they use an MIUI-based interface. Long time fans of MIUI can tell you how customizable it can be.
As Lei explains, Apple makes all of their money off of their hardware and very little off their software. Xiaomi differs from this because they make all their money off their software and, in some cases, actually lose money on their hardware. This all comes as a response to the media dubbing Xiaomi “China’s Apple.” Lei then goes on to point out that Apple’s software is a single solution for everyone while Xiaomi’s software can be customized by anyone and has thousands of designers.
If you have a minute, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Is Lei justified to say that they shouldn’t be compared to Apple?