A Xiaomi office building located in Beijing
|Romanized name||Xiǎomĭ Kējì|
|Founded||April 6, 2010Beijing, China,|
|Headquarters||Chaoyang District, Beijing, China|
|Area served||Selected Markets
|Revenue||US$5.22 billion (2013)|
|Literal meaning||millet (literally Xiao - "little", mi - "rice")|
Xiaomi Inc. (Chinese: 小米科技; pinyin: Xiǎomĭ Kējì, literally "Xiaomi Tech", or "little rice")  is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China. It is one of China's biggest electronics companies that designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and consumer electronics. Since the release of its first smartphone in August 2011, Xiaomi has gained market share in mainland China and has expanded into developing a wider range of consumer electronics. The company's founder and CEO is Lei Jun, China's 23rd richest man according to Forbes. The company currently has over 3000 employees, mainly in mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore, and is expanding to other countries such as India and Indonesia.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Business Model
- 4 Products
- 5 Criticisms and controversies
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The name Xiaomi means millet (literally Xiao - "little", mi - "rice"). In 2011, its CEO Lei Jun suggested there are more meanings than just the "millet and rice." He linked the "Xiao" part to the Buddhist concept that "a single grain of rice of a Buddhist is as great as a mountain," suggesting Xiaomi wants to work from the little things, instead of starting by striving for perfection, while "mi" is an acronym for Mobile Internet and also Mission Impossible, referring to the obstacles encountered in starting the company. He also stated that he thinks the name is cute. In 2012 President Lin Bin said that the name is about revolution and being able to bring innovation into a new area. Several sources have linked the latter meaning to the Communist Party of China's "millet and rifle" (小米加步枪) revolutionary idiom during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Xiaomi was co-founded by eight partners on June 6, 2010. In the first round of funding, institutional investors included Temasek, a Singaporean government-owned investment vehicle, the Chinese venture capital funds IDG Capital and Qiming Venture Partners, and mobile processor developer Qualcomm.
The Xiaomi Mi1 smartphone was announced in August 2011. It was shipped with Xiaomi's MIUI firmware which is based on Android and resembles Samsung's TouchWiz and Apple's iOS. The device could also be equipped with stock Android.
In August 2012, Xiaomi announced the Xiaomi Mi2 smartphone. The phone was powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064, a 1.5 GHz quad-core Krait chip featuring with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 320 GPU. The company said on 24 September 2013 that the company had sold over 10 million Mi2 devices over the preceding 11 months. Mi-2 smartphones were sold by wireless phone vendor Mobicity in the United States, Europe, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
On 5 September 2013, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun officially announced plans to launch an Android-based 47-inch 3D-capable Smart TV, which will be assembled by Sony TV manufacturer Wistron Corporation of Taiwan. The company explained the choice as to take advantage of Wistron's skill as a supplier of Sony.
By October 2013, Xiaomi was reported as the fifth most-used smartphone brand in China.
In 2014, Xiaomi announced its international expansion outside of China with their first stop in Singapore. The international headquarters will also be set up in the city-state, which will coordinate all activities including future product launches in the region. Xiaomi's Redmi and Mi3 phone made their debuts in Singapore on February 21 and March 7 respectively. On 7 March, Xiaomi Mi3 batches sold out within 2 minutes of the opening day sale in Singapore. The company also plans to enter the Malaysian market.
On 17 March 2014, RedMi Note (also known as HongMi Note is some Asian markets) was announced by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun. The RedMi Note features a 5.5-inch HD display with OGS technology and an octa-core processor from MediaTek. There are two variants of the RedMi Note, one with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage; and the other with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The phablet was made available for pre-order on 19 March exclusively through a mobile application from Tencent.
In April 2014, Xiaomi purchased a new domain - mi.com for a record $3.6 million. Mi.com becomes the most expensive domain name ever bought in China as confirmed by a senior executive of Xiaomi. Mi.com replaces xiaomi.com as the official website domain of Xiaomi.
On 18 June 2014, XiaoMi officially launched in India as Mi India. The website for Mi India is Mi.com/in.
In selling the Xiaomi smartphone, Xiaomi employs a strategy that is very unlike other smartphone makers such as Samsung and Apple. Lei Jun, Xiaomi CEO, said that the company prices the phone almost at bill-of-material prices. 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. It also profits by selling phone-related accessories in addition to the themes and software.
To further reduce overhead costs, Xiaomi does not own a single physical store and instead sells exclusively from its own online store. It also did away with traditional advertising and relies on social networking services as well as its own customers to help advertise its products.
Xiaomi's flagship mobile handset line is the Xiaomi Mi series, with its latest device being the Xiaomi Mi3. It was initially launched in mainland China, followed by Singapore and Malaysia on March and May 2014, respectively. The Xiaomi Mi3 uses a modified Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and has been tested as the world's fastest Android smartphone according to benchmark testing apps Antutu, Quadrant and Geekbench.
The Xiaomi MiPad is the first tablet to be announced by Xiaomi. First announced in the Xiaomi New Product Launch Event 2014, the device is the first device to use the NVIDIA Tegra K1 quad-core 2.3 GHz processor with 2GB RAM and is set to sell in mainland China at the price of RMB1499. It is currently only available to selected beta testers.
MIUI (operating system)
MiWiFi (network router)
In April 23, 2014, Xiaomi announced a network router called the MiWiFi which is currently in beta and is available only to selected beta testers. It is said to have NFC support, a 1TB built-in hard drive and a Broadcom dual-core 1 GHz CPU.
MiTV (Smart TV line)
The MiTV is a line of Smart TVs designed and marketed by Xiaomi. It runs Android and was initially announced in 2013. The latest in the series is a 49-inch Ultra HD Smart TV with a quad-core CPU sold with a soundbar mainly in mainland China at approximately 3999RMB.
MiBox (set-top box)
The Xiaomi MiBox is a smart set-top box for televisions. From deals struck with content providers, the set-top box offers films and TV shows with no user account nor subscription required. The box can also access content via its USB port, such as through an external hard disk. Due to content licensing restrictions, it is currently only available in mainland China.
MiCloud (cloud storage service)
MiCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service created by Xiaomi. The service allows users to store data such as contacts, messages, photos and notes on remote computer servers for download to multiple devices running MIUI. The service also includes a feature that allows users to track the location of their MIUI device as well as alarm, lock or reset it.
MiTalk (messaging service)
MiPower Bank (external battery)
MiPower Bank is a battery charger with a built-in external battery. The charger is built with an aluminium case, and includes a battery rated at 10400mAh. Through the use of a USB cable, it can be used to charge any device that supports USB charging, including Apple iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones/tablets and more.
Criticisms and controversies
The company's marketing strategy is often described as riding on the back of the "cult of Apple", using a similar marketing strategy. After reading a book about Steve Jobs in college, Xiaomi's chairman and CEO, Lei Jun, carefully cultivates a Steve Jobs image, including jeans and dark shirts, and Jobs' style of product announcements. He has been categorized as a counterfeit Jobs. The company's strategy has been categorized as counterfeiting philosophy, mindset and an icon. Despite repeated comparisons to Apple Inc., Xiaomi maintains that it espouses a different set of principles. Xiaomi has no retail stores nor does it partner with third-party distributors. Instead, all Xiaomi products are sold directly via the company's website. Skeptics categorize the products as non-innovative, low-price iPhone imitations that have no significant hardware or software advantages, and that any perception of innovation is good public relations. Others point out that while there are some similarities to Apple, the ability to customize the software based upon user preferences sets Xiaomi apart.
State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television issue
In November 2012, Xiaomi's smart set-top box stopped working one week after the launch due to the company having run afoul of China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television. The regulatory issues were overcome in January 2013.
In August 2013, the company announced that it was hiring Hugo Barra from Google, where he served as vice president of product management for the Android platform, after the revelation that Google co-founder Sergey Brin was in a relationship with Barra's ex-girlfriend. Barra has declined to comment on the unfortunate timing of the thorny situation regarding the Google relationships, and stated that he had been in talks with Xiaomi for over a year prior to announcing the move. He will be employed as vice president of Xiaomi to expand the company outside of mainland China, making Xiaomi the first company selling smartphones to poach a senior staffer from Google's Android team. Barra will focus on helping Xiaomi grow internationally.
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