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 Inc.
Native name
北京小米科技有限责任公司
Private
Industry Consumer electronics
Computer hardware
Founded 6 April 2010; 6 years ago (2010-04-06)
Founder Lei Jun (雷军)
Headquarters Haidian District, Beijing, China
Area served
Selected markets
Key people
Lei Jun (CEO)
Lin Bin (林斌) (President)
Hugo Barra (虎哥)[1] (Vice President)
Products Mobile phones
Smartphones
Tablet computers
Smart home devices
Revenue Increase US$20 billion (2015)
Number of employees
Approximately 8,100[2]
Website Xiaomi Global
Xiaomi Mainland China
Xiaomi Hong Kong
Xiaomi Taiwan
Xiaomi Singapore
Xiaomi Malaysia
Xiaomi Philippines
Xiaomi India
Xiaomi Indonesia
Xiaomi Brazil
Xiaomi
Chinese
Literal meaning "foxtail millet"

Xiaomi Inc.[3] (Chinese Mandarin: [ɕi̯àu̯mì], Chinese: 科技; pinyin: Xiǎomǐ Kējì, literally "millet technology";[4] English pronunciation: /ˌʃiˈm/) is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing. It is the world's 5th largest smartphone maker in 2015 Xiaomi sold 70.8 million units and accounted for almost 5 percent of the smartphone global market share[5] Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics.[6]

Since the release of its first smartphone in August 2011, Xiaomi has gained market share in mainland China and expanded into developing a wider range of consumer electronics, including a smart home (IoT) device ecosystem.[7][8][9][10] The company's founder and CEO is Lei Jun, China's 23rd richest person according to Forbes. The company sold over 60 million smartphones in 2014.[11]

The company has over 8,000 employees, mainly in mainland China, India , Malaysia,[12] and Singapore, and is expanding to other countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Brazil.[13][14]

According to IDC, in October 2014[15] Xiaomi was the third largest smartphone maker in the world, following Samsung and Apple Inc., and followed by Lenovo and LG. Xiaomi became the largest smartphone vendor in China in 2014, having overtaken Samsung, according to an IDC report.[16]

At the end of December 2014, Xiaomi became the world’s most valuable technology start-up after it received US$1.1 billion funding from investors, making Xiaomi's valuation more than US$46 billion.[17] Xiaomi entered the Indian market in July 2014 and since then expanded rapidly in India. Earlier, Xiaomi used to sell exclusively on Flipkart until it announced its partnership with both Amazon.com and Snapdeal on 7 April 2015. This is seen as a bid by the smartphone manufacturer to expand its retail base in India. It has also teamed up with Airtel Store and The Mobile Store to sell some of its selected devices. Later, in Q1 2015, it started its own store and stopped selling its accessories to online stores. On its first anniversary in India, it launched its own Mi Store App. On August 11, 2015, it started its first factory in Sricity, Andhra Pradesh in a partnership with Foxconn.[18]

Etymology[edit]

Xiaomi is the Chinese word for "millet".[19] In 2011 its CEO Lei Jun suggested there are more meanings than just the "millet and rice."[20] 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,[20] while "mi" is an acronym for Mobile Internet and also Mission Impossible, referring to the obstacles encountered in starting the company.[20][21] He also stated that he thinks the name is cute.[20] In 2012 Lei Jun said that the name is about revolution and being able to bring innovation into a new area.[22] Xiaomi's new 'Rifle' processor[23] 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[24][25] during the Second Sino-Japanese War.[26][27][28][29]

History[edit]

Further information: Timeline of Xiaomi

Xiaomi was co-founded by eight partners on 6 April 2010. In the first round of funding, institutional investors included Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean government-owned investment company, the Chinese venture capital funds IDG Capital and Qiming Venture Partners,[30] and mobile processor developer Qualcomm.[31] On August 16, 2010, Xiaomi officially launched its first Android-based firmware MIUI.[32] 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.[33]

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 2 GB of RAM and the Adreno 320 GPU.[34] The company said on September 24, 2013 that the company had sold over 10 million Mi2 devices over the preceding 11 months.[35] Mi-2 smartphones were sold by wireless phone vendor Mobicity in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, the UK and the US.[36] On September 5, 2013, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced plans to launch an Android-based 47-inch 3D-capable Smart TV,[37] which will be assembled by Sony TV manufacturer Wistron Corporation of Taiwan.[38] The company explained the choice as to take advantage of Wistron's skill as a supplier of Sony.[39] In September 2013, Xiaomi announced its Mi3 phone, with a version powered by the Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974AB) and another by NVIDIA's Tegra 4 chipset.,[40] a 2.3 GHz quad-core Krait chip featuring with 2 GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU.[41] On September 25, 2013, Xiaomi announced plans to open its first service center in Beijing.[42] By October 2013 Xiaomi was reported as the fifth-most-used smartphone brand in China.[43] In 2013 it sold 18.7 million smartphones,[44] and 26.1 million in the first half of 2014.[45]

Xiaomi Mi 4i was the first Xiaomi phone to see its initial release outside of China

In 2014 Xiaomi announced its expansion outside China, with their first stop in Singapore. The international headquarters, which will coordinate all activities including future product launches in the region, will also be set up there.[46] Xiaomi's Redmi and Mi3 phone were released in Singapore on February 21 and March 7, 2014.[47][48] On March 7, Xiaomi Mi3 batches sold out within 2 minutes of the opening day sale in Singapore.[49] Following Singapore, the company opened in Malaysia, Philippines and India,[50] and had plans to enter Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico in the following months.[51] On March 17, 2014, RedMi Note phablet (known as HongMi Note in some Asian markets) was announced by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun. The RedMi Note has a 5.5-inch HD display with OGS technology and an octa-core processor from MediaTek.[52] There are two variants of the RedMi Note, one with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage; and the other with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It was made available for pre-order on March 19 exclusively through a mobile application from Tencent.[53] 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.[54] In Q2 2014, Xiaomi shipped 15 million devices, 14 percent of China's market, while Samsung shipped slightly more than 13 million.[55] By July 2014, it had sold 57.36 million phones.[56] In November 2014 Xiaomi said it would invest US$1 billion in television content building.[57]

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[58][59] 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.[60]

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.[61]

On 23 April 2015, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and VP Hugo Barra came together to announce a new telephone named Mi 4i in India, the first phone to be launched in India before any other country. Mi Band was launched in the same event.

On 30 June 2015, Xiaomi announced it expansion into Brazil with the launch of locally manufactured Redmi 2, the first time the company sells a smartphone outside Asia or assembles one outside China.[62]

On 24 February 2016, Xiaomi launched the Mi5, with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. It has a power-efficient 5.15 inch HD 1080p display with a 16-LED backlight technology giving a picture of brightness 600 nits. There are models in black, white and gold cases, and available storage of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

On 10 May 2016, Xiaomi launched the Mi Max, with Qualcomm Snapdragon 650/652 processor. It has a power-efficient 6.4 inch FullHD 1080p display with 342ppi. With the ultimate 4850 mAh battery, 4GB of RAM, 16MP back-facing camera, a 5MP front-facing unit, and includes a fingerprint sensor.[63][64] Xiaomi later on launched the Mi Max in India on 30 June 2016.[65]

In July 2016, Chinese artists - Liu Shishi, Wu Xiubo and Liu Haoran became the first ambassadors of Xiaomi’s Redmi series in China.[66]

Business model[edit]

A Xiaomi Exclusive Service Centre for customer support in Kuala Lumpur. A selected range of products is on display but purchase can only be made online.
Xiaomi's mascot, a bunny called Mǐtù (米兔, "Mi Bunny").

In selling the Xiaomi smartphone, Xiaomi employs a strategy 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,[67][68] without compromising the component quality and performance compared to other premium smartphones.[69] It also profits by selling phone-related peripheral devices, smart home products, apps, online videos and themes.[70][71] According to Xiaomi's Hugo Barra in late 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."[72] 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, a higher proportion than even Apple.[69]

To further reduce overhead costs, Xiaomi does not own any physical stores, selling exclusively from its online store. It also did away with traditional advertising and relies on social networking services and word-of-mouth to publicise its products.[73]

Furthermore, 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 create 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.[74]

Xiaomi say that they listen closely to customer feedback, having them test out upcoming features themselves, and building an extensive online community.[75] 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."[69][76] 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 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."[77]

Finally, by making its operating system MIUI open for download on other Android phones, it has made Xiaomi’s apps and content more easily accessible, widening the potential to provide services to more users.[78]

Xiaomi's products are manufactured by Foxconn and Inventec.[79][80][81] According to the report released by patent litigation consulting firm LexInnova in May, 2015, Xiaomi has 101 U.S. patents with only 2 granted patents.[82]

Xiaomi's mascot is a rabbit wearing an Ushanka (known locally as a "Lei Feng hat" in China) with a red star and a red scarf around its neck.[83][84][85][86]

Products[edit]

Xiaomi makes many products, but considers its core products for a very long time into the future to be the mobile phone, TV and router, according to its CEO.[87]

Mobile phones[edit]

Mi series[edit]

Until January 2015 Xiaomi's flagship mobile handset line was the Xiaomi Mi series. The Xiaomi Mi 4 succeeded the Xiaomi Mi 3. It was initially launched in mainland China, followed by Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and India on March, May and July 2014 respectively. The Mi 3 uses a modified Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and was found on test to be the world's fastest Android smartphone according to benchmark testing apps Antutu, Quadrant and Geekbench.[88]

Announced at Xiaomi's annual product launch at Beijing on 22 July 2014, the Mi 4 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM and an 8 megapixel front camera.

It was reported in 2014 that Xiaomi had ordered 50,000 sapphire covers from South Korean manufacturers, for a new premium smartphone.[89]

Xiaomi showcased its ceramic Mi 5 on 24 February at MWC 2016. It was one of the first smartphones with Qualcomm's latest processor, the Snapdragon 820.[90] It will retail for a price of RMB 2699 in China. It has an IMX298 camera sensor with 4-axis OIS and a sapphire lens. It's also equipped with NFC and a mobile payment function Mi Pay launched in April 2016.[91]

Mi Note[edit]
Xiaomi Mi Note Pro

In January 2015 in Beijing, China, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro at about half the price of the comparable iPhone 6.[92] Both devices have a 5.7-inch display and use a dual-glass design with a 2.5D front and 3D rear glass.[93][94][95][96]

The Mi Note is powered by hardware more than a year old at launch,[97] the Mi Note Pro has the newer octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, Adreno 430 GPU, 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and LTE Cat 9, giving it a higher performance than the Mi Note, with approximately the same battery life.[98]

Redmi Series[edit]

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, showing the dual SIM card tray and the fingerprint scanner

The Xiaomi Redmi series is a lower-cost range than the Mi; the Redmi Note is the second phone in the series. In India the Redmi Note comes in three variants, one with 4G, another with 3G and the other with LTE.[99] It was available only on Flipkart until Xiaomi announced its partnership with Amazon.com and Snapdeal on 7 April 2015.

The 16GB Redmi Note 2 And 32GB Redmi Note 2 Prime were announced on 13 August 2015. The Redmi Note 2 has a better 64-bit Mediatek Helios X10 Chipset, 2 GB RAM, and a fast-focusing 13 Mpx camera. It is thinner and lighter than the original Redmi Note. The Redmi Note 2 Prime has 4G LTE And a slightly faster CPU Than the Redmi Note 2. It will run MIUI 7.

The Redmi Note 3 (unlike its predecessor it does not have a user-changeable battery, and does not support removable Micro SD storage) was launched on 24 November 2015. It is powered by an octacore Helio X10 processor clocked at 2.0 GHz.

However the Redmi Note 3 pro has a microSD slot available in the form of a Hybrid SIM slot. The pro version has a slightly bumped up specs than the normal version. It uses a Snapdragon 650 (a hexacore chipset - max. clock freq. 1.8 GHz) with Adreno 510 GPU.

MiPad[edit]

The Xiaomi MiPad is the first tablet to be announced by Xiaomi. First announced in the Xiaomi New Product Launch Event 2014,[100] the device is the first device to use the NVIDIA Tegra K1 quad-core 2.3 GHz processor with 2GB RAM[101] and it is on sale in mainland China at the price of CN¥ 1,499.[102]

MIUI (operating system)[edit]

Main article: MIUI

MIUI is a stock and aftermarket Android firmware for smartphones and tablet computers based on the open-source Android operating system. It is Xiaomi's earliest known product. The global beta of MIUI 8, which is the latest iteration of this operating system, started rolling out on 11 July 2016.[103]

MiWiFi (network router)[edit]

The Xiaomi MiWiFi is a series network routers initially launched on 23 April 2014. The latest in the series is a corporate-class router with built-in storage of up to 6TB. It is said to have a PCB dual-antenna array supporting 802.11ac WiFi standard, a Broadcom 4709C dual-core 1.4 GHz processor and 512MB of flash memory. The router can be used as a wireless hard drive for movies and photos, in tandem with Xiaomi’s apps that feature remote downloads, automatic backups, remote access to files and other features.[104]

Mi TV (Smart TV line)[edit]

The Mi TV 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 are Mi TV 3s 43 inch and the Mi TV 3s 65 inch curved. The Mi TV 3s 43 inch has a 43-inch 1920p x 1080p from either LG or AUO. It has the 1.45 GHz quad-core MStar 6A908 Cortex-A9 processor with Mali-450 MP4 GPU, and 1GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB internal memory (eMMC 4.5).[105] At 10.9mm, it is pretty thin for a TV. The Mi TV 65 inch curved has a 4K Samsung display. It has a 1.4 GHz quad-core MStar 6A928 Cortex-A17 processor with Mali-760 MP4 GPU. For the memory, it has 2GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB internal memory (eMMC 50).[105] It is extremely thin at 5.9mm thick, but it has to have a sound bar for audio.[106]

MiBox (set-top box)[edit]

Xiaomi MiBox

The Xiaomi MiBox is a smart set-top box for televisions.[107] 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)[edit]

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)[edit]

MiTalk is an internet-based cross-platform instant messenger mobile app available for Android and iOS launched in 2011.[108]

MiPower Bank (external battery)[edit]

A 10400mAh MiPower Bank

MiPower Bank is a battery charger with a built-in internal battery. The charger is built with an aluminium case, and includes batteries rated at 5000/5200/10000/10400/16000/20000mAh. Through the use of a USB cable, it can be used to charge any device that supports USB charging.[109] The 16000 & 20000mAh have two USB ports. Silicone sleeves are available for all except the 20000mAh version.

Mi Band (fitness monitor & sleep tracker)[edit]

The Mi Band was announced in August 2014. The Mi Band will be sold for US$13, has a reported 30-day battery life, can act as an alarm clock and tracks your fitness and sleep. The band also has the ability to unlock your phone based on proximity.[110] Initially available in China, it can now be purchased in Xiaomi’s seven markets in Asia and — courtesy of a recent extension of its Mi.com store — the France, Germany, UK & US.[111][112] With 2.8 million Mi Band shipments in the first quarter of 2015, Xiaomi became the world's second-largest wearables maker, accounting for 24.6% of the global market share.[113]

Xiaomi announced the Mi Band 2 in June 2016.[114] Xiaomi has have employed Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor for accurate heart rate tracking. It has apparently also used an upgraded pedometer algorithm for gathering better fitness and sleep data. The band, which has a new design, has IP67 ratings for water resistance. The tracker is priced at 149 Yuan or US$15.

Mi Personal Transport[edit]

Electric Bikes[edit]

There are 4 kinds of bikes:[115]

  • Xiaomi YunBike C1 Men`s (Benz White, Space Gray and Burning Orange) from $439;
  • Xiaomi YunBike C1 Women`s (Fresh White, Elegant Red and Mint Green) from $439;
  • Xiaomi QiCycle R1 Black from $3599;
  • Xiaomi YunBike X1 Black from $899.

Electric Scooters[edit]

2 kinds of scooters: Xiaomi Ninebot Mini Self Balancing Scooter White and Black from $449.[116]

Ninebot Mini Scooter Sports Protector Set Black[edit]

There are 3 sizes: Size S, Size M, Size L.[117]

Smart Home products[edit]

Blood pressure monitor[edit]

Xiaomi launched a smart blood pressure monitor on 24 September 2014, in partnership with iHealth Labs of Silicon Valley, USA. Xiaomi says the blood pressure monitor is easy to use and meets all the necessary professional medical standards and certifications. The accompanying app, customized for Xiaomi smartphones, tracks blood pressure, heart rate, average pulse and other parameters on a real-time chart, then makes recommendations for improvement.[118][119]

Air purifier[edit]

Xiaomi released an air purifier on 9 December 2014 in Beijing. This CN¥ 899 device has the capability to clean up to 406 m3 of air in an hour. The device uses HEPA technology to reduce polluting particles from as high as 600 ppm to a clean 2.5 ppm. The device has a real-time air quality monitor. Users can synch the air purifier with a smartphone to control it remotely, receive air quality data, and be alerted when the air filter is dirty.[120]

Yi Smart Webcam[edit]

Xiaomi released the Yi (also called Ants or Xiaoyi) Smart Webcam for CN¥149 on 29 October 2014. It has 720p resolution, a 111 o wide-angle lens with 4x zoom, and the ability to make two-way voice calls. Activated and viewable via the smartphone, it doubles as both a webcam for chatting and a security camera with recording capabilities. The camera automatically records whenever it detects movement in view.[121] In June 2015, Xiaomi launched a night vision edition of the Yi Camera with a 940 nm infrared sensor.[122]

Yi Action Camera[edit]

Xiaomi Yi Action Camera

Xiaomi launched the Yi action camera for 399 CNY. It comes with a 16 MP Sony IMX206CQC[123] sensor which can record videos at 1080p60 and 720p120. It is waterproof up to 40 m with the waterproof case. Since it became very popular even outside China through its low price and same physical dimensions like products from Hero, there exists some user-made tweaks for features include shooting in RAW, customizable ISO and white balance[124] In May 2016 the new YI 2 was introduced[125]Compared to the popular GoPro brand of action cameras, Xiaomi's motion camera, Yi has electronic motion stabilization, an integrated LCD display, dual microphones, bigger battery, Slow Motion mode, Timer mode, lens geometry distortion correction and no overheat issues.[126]

Yi Dash Camera Camera[edit]

It comes with a 3 MP sensor and an A12 image processor which can record videos at 2K resolution at 30 fps (2304×1296) and 1080p at 60 and 30fps.[127] YI Dash camera features a 6-axis G-Sensor which will initiate the recording of an emergency clip. The camera also features ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) which includes lane departure warning, displayed on the 2,7" display, and forward sensing.[128]

Mi Smart Scale[edit]

Xiaomi announced the Mi Smart Scale for CN¥99 on 31 March 2015. According to Xiaomi, the smart personal weighing scale makes measurements ranging from 5 kg to 150 kg, with a 50g precision, and shows weight in kg and lbs. When paired with the Mi Fit app, which itself pairs with the Mi Band, users can track their weight and BMI. The Mi Smart Scale is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and is compatible with both Android and iOS. The maker of the scale is Huami, a company Xiaomi invested in.[129][130]

Mi Water Purifier[edit]

Xiaomi announced the Mi Water Purifier for CN¥1,299 on 16 July 2015.[131] It sits on a kitchen surface and filters water for drinking by reverse osmosis. Xiaomi says the purifier is able to dispense 1,800 litres a day with a 1:1 water production rate. The device also pairs with a smartphone and sends real-time data on filter effectiveness and reminders to change filters. The R&D of the device is done by Yunmi Technology, a part of the Mi Ecological System.[132]

Smart Home Kit[edit]

Xiaomi unveiled the Smart Home Kit for CN¥199 on 10 June 2015. The kit contains a set of smart sensors, including the multi-function gateway, the door/window sensor, the motion detector and the wireless switch, which can be combined to achieve over 30 different kinds of functions. For example, the motion detector can be paired with the gateway to perform functions such as switching on a light at night when it detects motion; the window sensors can start or stop a connected fan as windows are closed or opened; in another example, users can set the gateway into alert mode with their smartphones as they leave the house, and the gateway would then send push notifications and turn on the automatic recording of a Yi Smart Webcam when the door/window sensor or the motion detector detects abnormal activity.[133][134]

Ninebot Mini[edit]

Being a major investor in Ninebot, a Chinese company that acquired the self-balancing scooter manufacturer Segway, Xiaomi released a self-balancing scooter called Ninebot Mini for CN¥1,999 on 19 October 2015. The scooter has a maximum speed of 16 kph (10 mph), a 15-degree incline climbing capability, a range of 30 km on a single charge, and a recharging time of three hours. It weighs 8 kilograms (28 lbs) and can fit in a suitcase. Users can monitor speed, check vehicle condition, update firmware, receive theft alarms and remotely control the vehicle via a smartphone app. The scooter can learn and adapt to users' driving habits.[135][136]

Smart Rice Cooker[edit]

Xiaomi launched the Mi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker for CN¥999 on 29 March 2016. According to Xiaomi, the pressure rice cooker uses 1.2 atm to raise the boiling point of water to around 105℃, resulting in the most flavourful rice. Users can use their smartphones to scan the barcode on the rice packaging, with the cooker automatically adjusting its methodology to suit the particular rice type, brand, origin and user preferred softness. The companion app also includes options to cook steamed vegetables, crispy rice and cakes, and users can look up the recipe and set the corresponding heating method through the app.[137][138][139] The company had to deal with a PR crisis when netizens found resemblances between the design of Xiaomi's rice cooker and an earlier product by MUJI. Lei had to response in public to settle the disputes.[140]

Drones[edit]

It has announced it plans to build two drones.[141] One will be priced at 2,499 Chinese Yuan and will include a 1080p camera, and the more pricier one 2,999 Yuan model will shoot 4k video.[141] Xiaomi said the drones will consist of 27 minutes of flying time to a range of 3 kilometers on their 5,100 mAh batteries.[141] They will be making the drones in the summer.[141]

Recognition[edit]

Xiaomi is no. 2 on the list of 50 Smartest Companies 2015 by MIT Technology Review, which noted in the publication 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";[142] 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";[143] and No. 35 in the list of the Most Innovative Companies 2014 compiled by The Boston Consulting Group.[144]

Xiaomi's innovative business model has been characterized as a disruptive force to the existing smartphone industry by a number of commentators.[69][74][78][145][146][147]

Stratechery writer Ben Thompson notes in his article "Xiaomi's Ambition"[148] that Xiaomi's target consumer base is the young population of China, especially college students and young adults who just entered the workforce. As they get places of their own, they will need TVs, air purifiers, etc., things that Xiaomi sells along with the smartphones. He then notes:

This, then, is the key to understanding Xiaomi: they’re not so much selling smartphones as they are selling a lifestyle, and the key to that lifestyle is MIUI, Xiaomi’s software layer that ties all of these things together.

In fact, you could argue that Xiaomi is actually the first “Internet of Things” company: unlike Google (Nest), Apple (HomeKit), or even Samsung (SmartThings), all of whom are offering some sort of open SDK to tie everything together (a necessity given that most of their customers already have appliances that won’t be replaced anytime soon), Xiaomi is integrating everything itself and selling everything one needs on Mi.com to a fan base primed to outfit their homes for the very first time. It’s absolutely a vertical strategy – the company is like Apple after all – it’s just that the product offering is far broader than anything even Gene Munster could imagine. The services Lei Jun talks about – MIUI and Mi.com especially – sell the products and tie them all together, but they are all Xiaomi products in the end.[148]

Guinness record achievement[edit]

Xiaomi celebrated its 5th birthday on 6 April 2015 with the Mi Fan Festival, which includes an online shopping day with offers and discounts. Xiaomi managed to break the world record for "most mobile phones sold on a single online platform in 24 hours", by selling 2,112,010 handsets through its direct-to-customer website Mi.com.[149]

Cafe Killer[edit]

On 7 July 2016 several technology news sources reported a severe vulnerability in the MIUI firmware developed by Xiaomi. [150] The hack targeted a flaw in the MIUI OTA "over-the-air" updating system. The vulnerability was quickly caught by Xiaomi some time in April and immediately patched soon after. [151]

Controversies[edit]

Comparisons with marketing of Apple Inc.[edit]

Xiaomi has been unfavorably compared to the American corporation Apple Inc., as reviewers found some of Xiaomi's phones and tablets to be similar in appearance to Apple's.[152][153] In addition, the marketing strategy of Xiaomi is at times described as riding on the back of the "cult of Apple".[30] It is reported that, after having read a book about Steve Jobs in college,[154][155] Xiaomi's chairman and CEO, Lei Jun,[156] carefully cultivated a Steve Jobs image,[157] including jeans, dark shirts,[158] and Jobs's announcement style at Xiaomi's earlier product announcements.[159] Given the above, he was categorized as a "counterfeit Jobs."[160][161] However, It has been later revealed that the fashion style of Lei Jun was actually a result of his investments in the company Vancl (Chinese: 凡客; pinyin: Fán Kè) which forced him to wear its brand of clothing that happened to draw comparison to Jobs.[162][163]

Back in 2012, the company was said to be counterfeiting Apple's philosophy and mindset.[164] However, despite all these comparisons to Apple Inc., Xiaomi maintains a different set of principles and business model.[30][165] In 2013, critics debated how much of Xiaomi's products were innovative,[159][166][167] and how much of their innovation was just really good public relations.[168] Others point out that while there are some 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.[169]

During the Mi4 unveiling conference in 2014, the presentation slides used Apple's iconic "One more thing..." slide before introducing the Mi Band; it was the only English language slide in the whole 95 minute presentation and was intended as a joke.

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.[170][171][172] The regulatory issues were overcome in January 2013.[173]

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.[166][174][175][176][177][178][179][180] 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.[181] 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.[182] Barra will focus on helping Xiaomi grow internationally.[183][184]

Privacy[edit]

Xiaomi's cloud storage service Mi Cloud stores all the user data in its servers located in China. There were also reports that Xiaomi's Cloud messaging service sends some private data like call logs and contact information to Xiaomi servers. To fix this issue, Xiaomi released a MIUI update that made cloud messaging optional. Now, no private data is sent to Xiaomi servers if the cloud messaging service is turned off.

In October 2014, Xiaomi announced that it was setting up servers outside of China for international users citing improved services and compliance to regulations in several nations.[185] 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.[186]

Sales numbers[edit]

The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission had investigated the flash sales and found that Xiaomi had sold fewer smartphones than advertised.[187] In December, 3 separate flash sales were investigated. In those flash sales Xiaomi claimed that the number of smartphone sold was 10,000 units each for the first two sales, and 8,000 units for the third one. However, FTC had investigated the claims and found out that Xiaomi only sold 9,339 devices in the first flash sale, 9,492 units in the second one, and 7,389 for the third.[188] 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.[189]

Ban 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).[190] 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.[191] Following this, Xiaomi held various sales on Flipkart including on December 30, 2014. With this sale, the company received press coverage when their flagship Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G phone sold out in 6 seconds.[192] On 5 February 2015, Ericsson claimed that Xiaomi was violating the ban on selling handsets based on non-Qualcomm chipsets, through a website called www.xiaomishop.com. Xiaomi denied any involvement with the website. The judge also extended the division bench's interim order allowing Xiaomi to continue the sale of Qualcomm chipset-based handsets till March 18.[193]

On 27 April 2015, it was reported that Ratan Tata has acquired a stake in Xiaomi.[194][195]

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