Xiaomi

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Coordinates: 39°55′32″N 116°26′30″E / 39.9255°N 116.4416°E / 39.9255; 116.4416

Xiaomi Corporation
Native name
小米集团
Public
Traded asSEHK1810
ISINKYG9830T1067 Edit this on Wikidata
Industry
Founded6 April 2010; 10 years ago (2010-04-06)
FounderLei Jun
HeadquartersHaidian District,
Number of locations
1066 MI Homes (retail and customer service centers)[a]
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products
Brands
  • Pocophone (Poco in India)
  • Redmi
  • Mijia (米家, IoT products)
  • Black Shark (gaming smartphone)
RevenueIncrease CN¥205.839 billion
(2019)[1]
Increase CN¥11.760 billion (2019)[1]
Decrease CN¥10.103 billion (2019)[1]
Total assetsIncrease CN¥183.629 billion (2019)[1]
Total equityIncrease CN¥81.658 billion (2019)[1]
Number of employees
18,170 (31 December 2019)[1]
Subsidiaries
Website www.mi.com/global/ Edit this on Wikidata
Xiaomi
Chinese小米
Literal meaningMillet

Xiaomi Corporation (/ˈʃm/;[2] Chinese: 小米 [ɕjǎu.mì] (About this soundlisten)) is a Chinese multinational electronics company founded in April 2010 and headquartered in Beijing. Xiaomi makes and invests in smartphones, mobile apps, laptops, home appliances, bags, shoes, consumer electronics, and many other products.[3] Xiaomi is also the fourth company in the world after Apple, Samsung and Huawei to have self-developed mobile phone chip capabilities.[4]

Xiaomi released its first smartphone in August 2011 and rapidly gained market share in China to become the country's largest smartphone company in 2014.[5] At the start of second quarter of 2018, Xiaomi was the world's fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer,[6][7][8] leading in both the largest market, China, and the second-largest market, India.[9] Xiaomi later developed a wider range of consumer electronics, including a smart home (IoT) product ecosystem, which has connected more than 100 million smart devices and appliances.[10][11][12][13] Monthly active users (MAUs) of MIUI increased to 291.6 million in September 2019.[14]

Xiaomi has 16,700 employees worldwide. It has expanded to other markets including Greater China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa and most countries and regions in Southeast Asia and Europe.[15][16] According to Forbes, Lei Jun, the founder and CEO, has an estimated net worth of US$12.5 billion.[17] Xiaomi is the world's 4th most valuable technology start-up after receiving US$1.1 billion funding from investors, making Xiaomi's valuation more than US$46 billion.[18] Ranked 468th, Xiaomi is the youngest company on Fortune Global 500 list for 2019.[19] In 2019, Xiaomi's mobile phone shipments reached 125 million units,[20] ranking fourth globally since 2018. The company has been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 2018.

History[edit]

2010[edit]

On 6 April 2010 Xiaomi was co-founded by Lei Jun and six others:

  • Lin Bin (林斌), vice president of the Google China Institute of Engineering
  • Zhou Guangping (周光平), senior director of the Motorola Beijing R&D center
  • Liu De (刘德), department chair of the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Science and Technology Beijing
  • Li Wanqiang (黎万强), general manager of Kingsoft Dictionary
  • Huang Jiangji (黄江吉), principal development manager
  • Hong Feng (洪峰), senior product manager for Google China

In the first round of funding, institutional investors included Temasek Holdings, IDG Capital, Qiming Venture Partners[21] and Qualcomm.[22]

On 16 August 2010, Xiaomi officially launched its first Android-based firmware MIUI.[23] It resembles Samsung's TouchWiz and Apple's iOS.

2011[edit]

The Xiaomi Mi 1 smartphone was announced in August 2011. The device had Xiaomi's MIUI firmware along with Android installation. The first Xiaomi Mi 1 smartphone was then commercially appeared in Asia and East Asia technological markets.[24]

2012[edit]

In August 2012, following the first version of smartphone, Xiaomi Corporation announced its new device called Xiaomi Mi 2 smartphone. It was improved from the previous version by updating the new firmware with the most updated Android Version.[25]

2013[edit]

On 5 September 2013, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced plans to launch an Android-based 47-inch 3D-capable Smart TV,[26] which will be assembled by Sony TV manufacturer Wistron Corporation of Taiwan.[27] The company explained the choice as to take advantage of Wistron's skill as a supplier of Sony.[28]

In September 2013, Xiaomi announced its Mi 3 phone.[29]

By October 2013 Xiaomi was the fifth-most-used smartphone brand in China.[30]

In 2013 it sold 18.7 million smartphones.[31]

2014[edit]

In 2014 Xiaomi announced its expansion outside China, with their first international headquarters in Singapore. Future product launches and activities in the region will be set up there.[32] Following Singapore, the company opened in Malaysia, Philippines and India,[33] and plans to enter Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico in the following months.[34]

On 21 February 2014 Xiaomi's Redmi and Mi 3 phone were released in Singapore.[35][36] The Xiaomi Mi 3 batches were sold out within 2 minutes of the opening day sale in Singapore.[37]

In March 2014, Xiaomi Store Australia (an unrelated business) began selling Xiaomi mobile phones online in Australia through its website, XiaomiStore.com.au.[38] However, they traded for only a few months, as Xiaomi soon "requested" that the store be shut down on (or by) 25 July 2014.[38] Shortly after sales were halted, the website itself was also taken down, on 7 August 2014.[38] An industry commentator described the action by Xiaomi to get the Australian website closed down as unprecedented, saying, “I’ve never come across this [before]. It would have to be a strategic move.” [38] At the time this left only one online vendor selling Xiaomi mobile phones into Australia, namely Yatango (formerly MobiCity), which was based in Hong Kong[38] — although this business closed in late 2015.[39]

On 17 March 2014, Redmi Note phablet was announced by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun.[40]

In April 2014 Xiaomi purchased the Internet domain mi.com for a record US$3.6 million, the most expensive domain name ever bought in China, replacing xiaomi.com as the official Xiaomi domain.[41]

In November 2014 Xiaomi said it would invest US$1 billion in television content building.[42]

In December 2014 Xiaomi completed a round of equity financing led by Hong Kong-based technology fund All-Stars Investment Limited, a fund run by former Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Ji[43][44] raising over US$1 billion, with a valuation of more than US$45 billion making it one of the most valuable private technology companies in the world.[45]

The company sold over 60 million smartphones in 2014.[46]

2015[edit]

In April 2015 Xiaomi announced it would make its Mi devices available through two of India's major e-commerce sites and through offline retailers for the first time.[47]

On 23 April 2015, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and VP Hugo Barra came together to announce a new smartphone named Xiaomi MI4I in India, the first phone to be launched in India before any other country. The Xiaomi Mi Band was also launched in the same event.

On 27 April 2015, it was reported Ratan Tata had acquired a stake in Xiaomi.[48][49]

On 30 June 2015, Xiaomi announced its expansion into Brazil with the launch of locally manufactured Redmi 2; it is the first time the company assembled a smartphone outside of China.[50]

2016[edit]

On 24 February 2016, Xiaomi launched the Mi 5 smartphone.

On 9 March 2016, Xiaomi launched its Redmi Note 3 in India. It was a groundbreaking smartphone at the time in the budget segment and was well received by Indian customers. It made record sales on the year, and the Xiaomi brand name continued to grow.

On 10 May 2016, Xiaomi launched the Mi Max.[51]

Shortly after starting operations in Brazil the company left the country in the second half of 2016.[52]

In July 2016 Chinese artists as Liu Shishi, Wu Xiubo and Liu Haoran became the first ambassadors of Xiaomi's Redmi series in China.[53]

In August 2016 Xiaomi entered Bangladesh via Solar Electro Bangladesh Limited.[54]

In September 2016 Xiaomi's cell phones became officially available in the European Union through their partnership with ABC Data.[55]

2017[edit]

In January, Xiaomi officially released its Redmi Note 4 Successor of Redmi Note 3 and becomes India's No 1 Smartphone Brand [56]. This Phone was their first Made in India Campaign Success.


On 20 February, Xiaomi officially launched in Pakistan and brought its Mi and Redmi Note lineup to the country.


[57]

On 19 April, Xiaomi launched Mi 6, its flagship phone at the time.

In May, Xiaomi opened two MI Home stores; one in Bangalore (India) and one in Bangladesh. It is the first of several planned for the region.[58]

On 25 May, Xiaomi released Mi Max 2.

On 26 August, new MIUI v9 alongside Mi 5x has been released.[59]

On 31 August, Xiaomi opened its first flagship Mi Store in Faisalabad, Pakistan.[60]

On 5 September Xiaomi released Mi A1, which is the first Android One smartphone under the slogan: Created by Xiaomi, Powered by Google. In the event keynote Xiaomi stated they started working with Google for the Mi A1 Android One smartphone almost six months ago. An alternate version of the phone is also available with MIUI and is known as MI 5X.

In September Xiaomi released Mi MIX 2[61]

In October, the EU's first Mi Store has been opened in Athens, Greece.[62]

On 7 November, Xiaomi started operating in Spain, making available the Mi A1 and Mi Mix 2 smartphones.[63]

In Q3 2017, Xiaomi overtook Samsung to become the number one smartphone brand in India. Xiaomi has sold 9.2 million units during this period.[64]

2018[edit]

On 20 February, Xiaomi opened their first Mi Store in the Philippines.[65]

In March 2018, at China's annual legislative session in Beijing, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced that Xiaomi has "always been considering entering the US market" and will launch in the US smartphone market by late 2018 or early 2019. Xiaomi already sells assorted items in the US such as power banks and Bluetooth speakers.[66]

On 3 April 2018, Xiaomi launched the Mix 2S model which is a successor of Mix 2.[67]

On 25 April 2018, Xiaomi launched the Mi 6X, a successor of Mi 5X.

On 22 May 2018, Xiaomi opened its first French Mi store in Paris.[68]

On 26 May 2018, Xiaomi opened its first Italian Mi Store in the Il Centro Mall in Arese, Milan.

On 3 May 2018, Xiaomi filed to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and aims to raise $10 billion in IPO which is expected to be the world's biggest IPO raise since 2014.[69]

On 3 May. 2018, Xiaomi announced in partnership with 3 (telecommunications) to sell smartphones in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, and Sweden[70]

In May 2018, Xiaomi began selling some of their smart home products in the United States through Amazon.[71]

In July 2018, Xiaomi opened its office in Bangladesh with a view to establishing a manufacturing plant within the next couple of years. [72]

In September 2018, Xiaomi launched its 4th 'Mi Home' experience store in India.[73] They also launched their products in the UK, offering UK customers to purchase without customs fees.

2019[edit]

In March 2019, Xiaomi partnering with AMTD obtained one of the eight virtual bank licenses in Hong Kong.[74] The company also has introduced Xiaomi Mi 9 phone which has a fingerprint scanner in its display.[75]

Etymology[edit]

Xiaomi (小米) is the Chinese word for "millet".[76] In 2011 its CEO Lei Jun suggested there are more meanings than just the "millet and rice."[77] 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,[77] while "mi" () is an acronym for Mobile Internet and also Mission Impossible, referring to the obstacles encountered in starting the company.[77][78] He also stated that he thinks the name is cute.[77] In 2012 Lei Jun said that the name is about revolution and being able to bring innovation into a new area.[79] Xiaomi's new 'Rifle' processor[80] has given weight to several sources linking the latter meaning to the Communist Party of China's "millet and rifle" (小米加步枪) revolutionary idiom[81][82] during the Second Sino-Japanese War.[83][84][85][86]

Business model[edit]

A Xiaomi Exclusive Service Centre for customer support in Kuala Lumpur.

Lei Jun, Xiaomi's CEO, said that the company prices the phone almost at bill-of-material prices,[87][88] without compromising the component quality and performance compared to other premium smartphones.[89] It also profits by selling phone-related peripheral devices, smart home products, apps, online videos and themes.[90][91] According to Xiaomi's Hugo Barra in 2014, the company sees hardware sales as a means of delivering software and services in the long term, "We are an Internet and a software company much more than a hardware company."[92] However, financial data available at the time indicated that this is either wishful thinking or plans for the far future: 94% of the company's revenue came from mobile phone sales, an even higher proportion than Apple.[89]

At first, to reduce overhead costs, Xiaomi did not own any physical stores, selling exclusively from its online store. In recent years, they have opened 54 brick and mortar stores to combat the strategies of other low-cost competitors in Chinese markets. It also did away with traditional advertising and relies on social networking services and word-of-mouth to publicize its products.[93]

By keeping a tight control over its stock, Xiaomi is able to place cheaper batch orders as demand dictates. Limited availability flash sales ensure that supply never outstrips demand and helps promote its products. In contrast, traditional OEMs incur large upfront productions costs, which must be recouped by selling prices, in order to ship phones, some of which may not sell, out to retailers all around the world.[94]

Xiaomi say that they listen closely to customer feedback, having them test out upcoming features themselves, and building an extensive online community.[95] Lei Jun described it this way, "When I was with Kingsoft, I had the opportunity to work with Nokia and Motorola, two mobile phone giants of their time. One day, I pointed out to their R&D boss, some inadequacies. After that, they merely acknowledged my input but never acted upon what I had said. So I thought to myself, if I make a phone, you can tell me anything you wish for it or what's wrong. If it is justifiable, we will work on it immediately. I'll give you an update every week and you may even see your wishes come true within a week."[89][96] In practice, Xiaomi's product managers spend a lot of time browsing through the company's user forums. Once a suggestion is picked up, it is quickly transferred to the engineers. Therefore, features can turn from a mere concept to shipping products within a week. The company then ships a new batch of phones out every week on Tuesday at noon Beijing time, containing the new software builds and possible minor hardware tweaks. Xiaomi calls this process "design as you build."[97]

Xiaomi's mascot, Mitu, is a white rabbit wearing an Ushanka (known locally as a "Lei Feng hat" in China) with a red star and a red scarf around its neck.[98][99]

Products[edit]

Xiaomi produces many products. Observers suggest that part of Xiaomi's rapid success rests on its ability to differentiate itself within the Android universe.[100][need quotation to verify] The company has increased its range of products; its smartphones include: Mi Series, Mi Note Series (got a new update after 3 years, with the Mi Note 10 Pro), Mi Max Series, Mi Mix Series, Redmi, Blackshark and POCO Series. As well as mobile phones, Xiaomi has started selling wearables, mobile accessories, and appliances such as television and speakers. In 2018 it was selling tablets, laptops, and smart-home devices.

Xiaomi operates on a vertically-integrated model that enables the company to sell hardware at cost or below in order to attract users and earn money by selling content.[100] Hugo Barra, a former Google executive who served Xiaomi's vice president from 2014 to 2017, characterized the organization as "an Internet and a software company much more than a hardware company".[101]

Xiaomi also keeps its prices low or close to "bill-of-material" by keeping most of its products in the market longer, eighteen months rather than the six-month norm followed by many smartphone companies.[101] Xiaomi said they sell their phones close to cost and intends to make profit on services.[102] The company's version of the Android operating system and MIUI skin, with its design, app marketplace, and functionalities, has established a community of users[100] who form a crucial part of Xiaomi's customer base and contribute to the company's drive for market awareness. This ecosystem is a massive source of revenue as indicated in 2015, when sales from the platform reached $750 million.[103]

Xiaomi's Redmi Note

The company focuses on India, the world's second-largest smartphone market.[104][105] Xiaomi announced on 2 May 2018, the launch of Mi Music and Mi Video to offer "value-added internet services" in India.[106] On 22 March 2017, Xiaomi announced that it planned to set up a second manufacturing unit in India in partnership with contract manufacturer Foxconn.[107][108] On 7 August 2018, Xiaomi announced on its blog[109] that Holitech Technology Co. Ltd., Xiaomi's top supplier, would invest up to $200 million over the next three years to set up a major new plant in India.[110]

In 2019 Xiaomi started to sell simple goods such as sunglasses, caps, pillows, glass lunchboxes, cups, filters, bags, backpacks, luggage, screwdrivers, and umbrellas.[111]

In April 2019, researchers at Check Point found a security breach in Xiaomi phone apps.[112][113] The security flaw was reported to be preinstalled.[114]

In 2019, the company announced that it would launch more than 10 5G phones in 2020, some of them being: Mi 10/10 Pro with 5G functionality included, Black Shark 3/3 Pro.[115]

In March 2020, Xiaomi showcased its new 40W wireless charging solution, which was able to fully charge a smartphone with a 4,000mAh battery from flat in 40 minutes.[116][117]

Controversies[edit]

GPL violation[edit]

Xiaomi was unfavorably covered for its non-compliance with the terms of the GNU GPL. The Android project's Linux kernel is licensed under the copyleft terms of the GPL, which requires Xiaomi to distribute the complete source code of the Android kernel and device trees for every Android device it distributes. By refusing to do so, or by unreasonably delaying these releases, Xiaomi is operating in violation of intellectual property law in China, as a WIPO state.[118] Prominent Android developer Francisco Franco publicly criticized Xiaomi's behaviour after repeated delays in the release of kernel source code.[119] Xiaomi in 2013 said that it would release the kernel code.[120] The kernel source code is available on the GitHub website.[121]

Comparisons with Apple Inc.[edit]

Xiaomi has been compared to the American corporation Apple Inc., as reviewers found some of Xiaomi's phones and tablets similar in appearance to Apple's.[122][123] In addition, the marketing strategy of Xiaomi is at times described as riding on the back of the "cult of Apple".[124] It is reported that, after reading a book about Steve Jobs in college,[125] Xiaomi's chairman and CEO, Lei Jun,[126] carefully cultivated a Steve Jobs image,[127] including jeans, dark shirts,[128] and Jobs's announcement style at Xiaomi's earlier product announcements.[129] Given the above, he was categorized as a "counterfeit Jobs."[130][131]

In 2012, the company was said to be counterfeiting Apple's philosophy and mindset.[132] In 2013, critics debated how much of Xiaomi's products were innovative,[129][133][134] and how much of their innovation was just really good public relations.[134] Others point out that while there are similarities to Apple, the ability to customize the software based upon user preferences through the use of Google's Android operating system sets Xiaomi apart.[135]

State administration of radio, film, and television issue[edit]

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.[136][137][138] The regulatory issues were overcome in January 2013.[139]

Hugo Barra[edit]

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.[133][140][141][142] Barra has declined to comment on the timing of the Google relationships, and stated that he had been in talks with Xiaomi for over a year prior to announcing the move.[143] He was 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.[144] Barra's focus was to help Xiaomi grow internationally.[145][146] Barra quit his position in January 2017 to join Facebook as VP of virtual reality.[147]

Privacy concerns and alleged data theft[edit]

Xiaomi's cloud storage service Mi Cloud stores all user data in its servers located in China. There were reports that Xiaomi's Cloud messaging service sends some private data, including call logs and contact information, to Xiaomi servers. Xiaomi later released an MIUI update that made cloud messaging optional: Xiaomi claimed that no private data was sent to Xiaomi servers if the cloud messaging service was turned off.

In October 2014, Xiaomi announced that they were setting up servers outside of China for international users, citing improved services and compliance to regulations in several nations.[148] Around the same time, the Indian Air Force issued a warning against Xiaomi phones, stating that they were a national threat as they sent user data to an agency of the Chinese government.[149]

On 30 April 2020, it was reported by Forbes that Xiaomi extensively tracks use of its browsers, including private browser activity, phone metadata, and device navigation, and more alarmingly, without secure encryption or anonymization, more invasively and to a greater extent than mainstream browsers. Xiaomi refuted the claims, while affirming that it did extensively collect browsing data, and claiming that the data was not linked to any individuals and that consumers had consented to being tracked.[150] Xiaomi later posted a response stated that the collection of aggregated usage statistics data is used for internal analysis, and would not link any personally identifiable information to any of this data.[151]

Sales numbers[edit]

The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission had investigated the flash sales and found that Xiaomi had sold fewer smartphones than advertised.[152] In December 2014, three flash sales were investigated. In those flash sales Xiaomi claimed that the number of smartphones sold was 10,000 units each for the first two sales, and 8,000 units for the third one. However, FTC investigated the claims and found that Xiaomi sold 9,339 devices in the first flash sale, 9,492 units in the second one, and 7,389 for the third.[153] It was found that during the first flash sale, Xiaomi had given 1,750 priority ‘F-codes’ to people who could place their orders without having to go through the flash sale, thus diminishing the stock that was publicly available. The FTC fined Xiaomi NT$600,000.[154]

Temporary ban & criticism in India[edit]

On 9 December 2014, the High Court of Delhi granted an ex parte injunction that banned the import and sale of Xiaomi products in India. This injunction was issued in response to a complaint filed by Ericsson in connection with the infringement of its patent licensed under FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory Licensing).[155] This injunction issued by the High Court was applicable until 5 February 2015, the date on which the High Court was scheduled to summon both parties for a formal hearing of the case. On 16 December The Delhi High Court granted permission to Xiaomi to sell its devices that are running on a Qualcomm-based processor until 8 January 2015.[156] Following this, Xiaomi held various sales on Flipkart including on 30 December 2014. With this sale, the company received press coverage when their flagship Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G phone sold out in 6 seconds.[157] The judge extended the division bench's interim order allowing Xiaomi to continue the sale of Qualcomm chipset-based handsets until March 2018.[158]

On 27 June 2020, CAIT - The Confederation of All India Traders criticized Xiaomi Global VP & India MD, Manu Kumar Jain for disrespecting the sentiments of India citizens after he called 'Boycott Chinese Products' campaign a result of Mob Mentality.[159]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Statistics from Mainland China to 31 December 2018, statistics from other regions to 31 March 2019

References[edit]

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